BROWNSVILLE, Texas - Two people have been ordered to
federal prison following their convictions related to a conspiracy to purchase
and smuggle an M203 Grenade Launcher as well as three semi-automatic rifles,
announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Dulce Maria Rippstine, 38, of San Juan, and Juan Martin
Segura-Olvera, 57, of Reynosa, Mexico, pleaded guilty Dec. 7, 2017, and June
29, 2017, respectively.
Today, U.S. District Rolando Olvera ordered Rippstine to
serve 37 months in prison, while Segura-Olvera received a 50-month term of
imprisonment. Rippstine was further ordered to serve two years of supervised
release. Not a U.S. citizen, Segura-Olvera is expected to face deportation
proceedings following his prison term. The court acknowledged Rippstine's and
Segura-Olvera's similar roles in the offense, but gave individual consideration
to their actions as well as the actions of the other co-defendants.
Beginning in the fall of 2016, purchasers located in Mexico
had negotiated the sale of a grenade launcher and three assault rifles with
undercover federal agents who were posing as black market arms dealers. Acting
on behalf of the purchasers in Reynosa, Rippstine and Segura met with the
agents on Feb. 7, 2017, in Los Fresnos. Following the purchase, Rippstine and
Segura were to act as the munitions transporter to facilitate the exportation
and smuggling into Mexico.
Oscar Fredy Garcia, 31, of Reynosa, and Jorge
Cortez-Trujillo, 42, of Veracruz, Mexico, were also members of the conspiracy.
Garcia had been living illegally in the United States when he arrived in Los
Fresnos on Feb. 7, 2017. In his possession was $5,000 to pay for the previously
negotiated exchange. Cortez-Trujillo also illegally entered the United States
prior to Feb. 7, 2017. His role was to inspect the grenade launcher and other
munitions to insure the quality for the buyer in Mexico.
Rippstine had travelled to Reynosa to pick up
Segura-Olvera before returning to the United States to meet at the
predetermined location on Feb. 7. After an initial meet-and-greet, money was
exchanged and Cortez-Trujillo inspected the grenade launcher, commenting that
he was familiar with the weapon and was ex-Mexican military. He also stated
that ammunition for the weapon was available in Mexico and that he had crossed
these weapons previously. After he completed the inspection, Cortez-Trujillo
directed the agents to load the munitions into the backseat of Rippstine's
vehicle. At that time, all four men were taken into custody.
Garcia and Cortez-Trujillo were each sentenced to five
years in prison for their role in the conspiracy late last year.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
conducted the investigation with the assistance of Immigration and Customs
Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Corley is prosecuting the