MCALLEN — A federal judge has given prison sentences to eight men who bought semi-automatic rifles in South Texas on behalf of organized crime in Mexico.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Juan Manuel Barrientos Lopez, an illegal immigrant and alleged leader of the team of "straw buyers," to five years in prison. The sentence was the longest allowed by law for what was essentially lying about who was really buying the guns.
Crane told Barrientos, 29, he was responsible for the illegal purchase of 38 semi-automatic rifles.
Court documents show that Barrientos paid the straw buyers and encouraged some to recruit others. He was arrested after agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives saw him accept guns from a cooperating defendant.