PHOENIX — A man who purchased two rifles found at the scene of the fatal shooting of a Border Patrol agent north of the US-Mexico border was sentenced Wednesday to nearly five years in federal prison.
Jaime Avila Jr., 25, received a sentence of 57 months, a penalty on the lower end of federal guidelines, for his acknowledged role in a gun smuggling ring targeted in a botched federal inquiry known as Operation Fast and Furious.
Two assault weapons acquired by Avila from a suburban Phoenix gun store were found in the aftermath of a 2010 shootout that mortally wounded Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry near the Arizona border city of Nogales. The firefight was between border agents and five men who had sneaked into the country from Mexico for the purpose of robbing marijuana smugglers.
US District Judge James Teilborg said it was clear that Avila showed remorse, but also pointed out the serious consequences of illegal gun purchases.
Authorities say the ring that Avila worked for bought guns and smuggled weapons into Mexico for use by the Sinaloa drug cartel.