Man to remain in custody in weapons case

McALLEN — A Brownsville man will continue to be held in federal custody in connection with an attempt to smuggle a grenade launcher barrel into Mexico.

Miguel Angel Gutierrez, 23, was scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter E. Ormsby on Friday afternoon for a detention hearing but waived his appearance beforehand, leaving him in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, according to court records.

Gutierrez is one of at least two people alleged to have played a role in an attempt to take the barrel of a grenade launcher and smuggle it into Mexico.

The second defendant, Jose Martin Carmona-Gonzalez, 45, also of Brownsville, made his initial appearance in federal court Thursday, a day after court records show he was arrested.

He is expected back before a magistrate judge Wednesday where he could possibly be granted a bond, court records show.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested Gutierrez Monday in connection with a firearms trafficking investigation conducted by agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations.

Earlier this month HSI agents, as part of ongoing investigation, seized a M203 launcher barrel from an unnamed individual, later identified as Carmona, in Brownsville who told agents that the barrel was supposed to be smuggled into Mexico.

According to the complaint, Carmona told agents that the barrel was supposed to be smuggled into Mexico.

A meeting was scheduled with the understanding that an unnamed person in Mexico was going to send someone, later identified as Gutierrez, to pick up the launcher.

The launcher was repackaged, and handed to Gutierrez in Brownsville.

CBP officers working the port of entry in Brownsville approached Gutierrez and detained him.

During his interview with authorities, Gutierrez told them that he had been recruited by an unnamed co-conspirator in Mexico to smuggle a tube used for launching grenades.

“According to the Department of State, Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance (DTCC), M203 launcher tubes are determined to be a defense article described on the United States Munitions List (USML) and regulated for export pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act,” the complaint states.

Gutierrez told officers he knew it was illegal to smuggle the grenade launcher tube into Mexico, the complaint states.

Gutierrez will remain in custody pending his trial proceedings.

This report was updated to correctly reflect Gutierrez’s age.