Hidalgo woman found with 50 rounds of ammunition

McALLEN — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered about 50 rounds of ammunition in a Hidalgo woman’s vehicle as she attempted to enter into Mexico last week, court records show.

Minerva Soto, 47, faces federal ammunition charges after CBP officers discovered the ammunition inside her vehicle on New Year’s Eve as she attempted to cross into Mexico, the complaint against her stated.

Soto, driving a white Jeep Wrangler, was stopped at the Hidalgo port of entry and was asked to declare any cash, weapons or ammunition, to which Soto said she didn’t.

“While inspecting the trunk area of the (Jeep), a CBPO discovered an Academy Sports & Outdoors store shopping bag with beef jerky inside. The CBPO proceeded to ask Soto if she had purchased anything else besides the beef jerky at the Academy Sports & Outdoors store, at which time Soto stated that the beef jerky was all that she had purchased,” the complaint read.

The CBP officer then asked to see the merchandise’s receipt. After searching for the receipt in her purse, Soto admitted she had purchased a box of bullets in addition to the beef jerky.

“Let me be honest with you, I did purchase a box of bullets,” Soto said, according to the complaint.

She then pulled out a box of 50 rounds of “Monarch 9mm Luger” ammunition from her purse.

After telling officers she knew it was illegal to transport rounds of ammunition into Mexico without a license, Soto said she was taking to the bullets to her family’s ranch for New Year’s Eve to be used for “celebratory gunfire and related events,” the complaint read.

On Thursday, Soto appeared before U.S. Magistrate Juan F. Alanis for her initial hearing. She was remanded into custody pending her detention hearing, currently scheduled for Dec. 7, records show.

In addition to making her initial appearance, Soto was appointed a federal public defender for her upcoming hearing.