SAN ANTONIO, TX – A former Karnes County sheriff's deputy was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison after authorities discovered he had a part in smuggling firearms to Mexico.
According to court documents, Oswaldo Bernal admitted that while he was employed as deputy sheriff he purchased approximately 40 firearms last year. Bernal purchased the guns from San Antonio firearms dealers under a discount program for law enforcement officers called the “Blue Label Program.”
Bernal would then sell the weapons to Juan Cesar Fabian Ayala-Melendez of Monterrey, Mexico. Ayala-Mendez was living illegally in the U.S.
Ayala-Mendez later told investigators he smuggled the guns through a Laredo-based international shipping company.
Bernal ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting smuggling goods from the U.S. He was also ordered to pay $7,191 in restitution. Bernal will also be placed on supervised release for three years after serving his prison term.
Ayala-Mendez pleaded guilty to two counts. The first count was for conspiracy to launder monetary instruments – specifically the proceeds of the weapons trafficking conspiracy. The second count was being an alien in possession of a firearm. He will be officially sentenced on July 19th.
A third defendant was also charged in the case. Yesenia Berenice De La Cerda Mendoza will also face federal charges for her role in the consipracy. Her arraignment is set for June 17th.