Agent Pleads Guilty to Firearms Conspiracy
POSTED: Friday, August 24, 2012 - 11:18am
UPDATED: Friday, August 24, 2012 - 11:22am
Girlfriend & Co-Defendant Previously Entered Guilty Plea to Misprision of a Felony
ALBUQUERQUE — Border Patrol agent Ricardo Montalvo, 29, of El Paso pleaded guilty to gun-smuggling conspiracy charges Friday morning. The indictment, filed back in April, listed 20 counts of conspiracy to illegally purchase firearms, ammo and magazines, all high demand items among the Mexican cartels. Montalvo was placed on administrative leave from the Border Pareol in 2011 when the investigation was initiated.
According to the indictment, Montalvo and his girlfriend, Carla Gonzales-Ortiz, 34 made the purchases with full awareness that they were headed to Mexico.
In his plea agreement Friday morning, Montalvo admitted that, from Nov. 2010 to Jan. 2011, he knowingly recruited other individuals to straw purchase firearms from federally licensed firearms dealers in the El Paso area.
Under the terms of Montalvo’s plea agreement, the United States will move to dismiss 19 counts of the indictment as against Montalvo after he is sentenced. At sentencing, Montalvo faces a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
Montalvo has been in federal custody since his arrest on April 9, 2012, and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing on Nov. 9, 2012.
On Thursday, Gonzales-Ortiz pleaded guilty to failing to report her knowledge of Montalvo's crimes. More specifically, Gonzales-Ortiz admitted that she knew that Montalvo solicited her and others to purchase guns for him at his direction. She further acknowledged that she falsely stated on ATF forms that she was purchasing the guns for herself when in fact she was purchasing them for Montalvo.
Under the terms of Gonzales-Ortiz’s plea agreement, the United States will move to dismiss the indictment as against Gonzales-Ortiz after she is sentenced. At sentencing, Gonzales-Ortiz faces a maximum penalty of three years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. She will be deported after she completes her prison sentence. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 2, 2012.