A Mexican citizen recently pleaded guilty to his involvement in a money laundering scheme related to the purchase of over 2 million rounds of ammunition intended to arm drug cartels south of the border.

Erving Alberto Sauceda, 34, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on June 28.

Sauceda planned to place large-scale ammunition orders through online retailers. He told the DOJ that he and other co-conspirators smuggled money into the United States and purchased approximately $1,058,464 worth of ammunition and magazines from August 2021 to the time of his arrest.

The ammunition included 1,760,010 rounds of 7.62x39mm, 278,000 rounds of .223, 111,000 rounds of 5.56, 30,000 rounds of .308, 1,000 rounds of 9mm and 504 AK rifle magazines. The munitions were then shipped to locations across the Rio Grande Valley.

“This case demonstrates yet again the lengths to which smugglers will go in an effort to conceal their contraband,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Deputy Special Agent in Charge Mark Lippa. “This seizure, subsequent investigation, and prosecution highlights [sic] the fine work federal border security agencies perform each day, often behind the scenes and often unknown to the public. HSI will continue to aggressively investigate those who attempt to circumvent our nation’s customs law by concealing illicit goods destined to cross our borders.”

Saucedna is in custody pending sentencing. Chief U.S. District Judge Randy Crane will sentence him on September 12. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $500,000.

“Smuggling millions of rounds of ammunition into Mexico is astounding and historic, even for the Southern District of Texas — a district that is ground zero in the battle against Mexico’s cartels and the illicit supply of firearms and ammunition to cartels,” said U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani. “This prosecution holds accountable the individuals and transnational criminal networks financing and smuggling firearms and ammunition into Mexico. Today’s guilty pleas are a result of the close partnership between federal and state law enforcement.”