Court grants bond for RGC man who tried to sneak ammo into Mexico

McALLEN — A Rio Grande City man was granted a bond in connection with a case involving the alleged smuggling of ammunition into Mexico, records show.

A court granted Filiberto Martinez Jr. a $40,000 bond related to his May 12 arrest as he attempted to cross into Mexico while in possession of nearly 200 rounds of rifle ammunition, the complaint against him stated.

On that day, Martinez attempted to cross into Mexico but was referred for a secondary inspection at the Roma port of entry, the document stated.

“(A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer) noticed (Martinez’s) left hand was trembling and referred the vehicle for secondary inspection,” the court record shows.

During the secondary inspection, CBP officers found bundles hidden behind the driver’s side seat.

“(A CBP officer) noticed some tape when searching the rear driver side panel; after noticing the tape, he removed the cover and could see bundles wrapped in clear and brown tape,” the document stated.

CBP officers removed a total of four wrapped bundles, and discovered 199 rounds of ammunition for a .50 caliber rifle.

After CBP detained Martinez, he agreed to be interviewed.

The 38-year-old U.S. citizen told authorities he was in Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, Mexico earlier in the day, where he ran into a friend.

“The friend asked him to do him a favor and bring him some ammunition because he was having trouble getting someone willing to smuggle the ammunition,” the document stated. “Martinez stated his friend told him would pay him $200. Martinez stated he had been out of work since December 2019 and agreed.”

Martinez told agents he returned to the U.S., purchased the ammunition at a store near his home, stashed it in his vehicle.

“Martinez stated he told his wife, ‘let’s go to Miguel Aleman and buy some sodas and eat some tacos,’ which she agreed,” the document stated. “Martinez stated she did not know anything about the ammunition in the vehicle.”

Martinez, who said he did not know you could get a license to transport ammunition, admitted he knew it was illegal to smuggle ammunition into Mexico without a license.

“Martinez stated the vehicle was registered to his wife and daughter and considers it the family vehicle,” the record shows.

Martinez is expected to be released on bond Tuesday after $1,500 cash deposit is made.