Three Rio Grande Valley residents plea guilty to firearms felonies

Border Crime

McALLEN, Texas (KVEO) — Four Rio Grande Valley residents were convicted for knowingly making false statements in connection with firearms purchases from a local federally licensed dealer on Friday.

Mario Fierro, 40, from Pharr, admitted to recruiting 35-year-old Juan Angel Hernandez, 32-year-old Becky Lynn Villasenor and 35-year-old Felipe Tudon Jr., to purchase firearms from Rio Grande Valley firearms dealers.

The weapons would then be smuggled into Mexico.

Hernandez, of San Juan, and Villasenor, of Harlingen, admitted in court Friday to making a materially false statement in connection with the purchase of firearms. Tudon, also of San Juan, previously pleaded guilty Sept. 4.

Villasenor acknowledged the purchase of a Beretta 9mm pistol and a 5.7x28mm caliber pistol at Fierro’s direction.

She made materially false statements to the firearms dealer to secure the sale.

As part of his plea, Hernandez admitted Fierro hired him to recruit others. He then had Tudon make a materially false statement while purchasing a 5.7x28mm caliber firearm from a federally licensed dealer.

The investigation began in June 2019.

Tudon is set for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane on Nov. 17, while the three who pleaded Friday will be sentenced Jan. 13, 2021. Each faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

Tudon was permitted to remain on bond pending sentencing. Fierro, Hernandez and Villasenor have been and will remain in custody pending their hearings.

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