9th Circuit Says Arizona Woman Must Pay For Ammo Likely Smuggled Into Mexico

Published: Monday, February 11, 2019 - 5:12pm
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 9:42am
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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a decision that an Arizona woman has to pay the U.S. government for ammunition worth thousands of dollars that was likely smuggled into Mexico.

Jessica Bridget Soto pleaded guilty to attempt to export ammunition, and conspiracy to export firearms and ammunition. Prosecutors said her acts were part of a broader conspiracy to illegally export large amounts of guns and bullets.

Court documents say Soto bought nearly 55,000 of rounds of ammunition in Phoenix. She delivered a batch to the border and federal agents caught her taking another. The batch Soto delivered was worth roughly $7,000, and a federal judge in Tucson decided she must pay that amount to the government.

Soto’s attorney is A. Bates Butler III. He said in exchange for Soto taking the ammo to the border, someone paid a roughly $200 rent for her mother living in Mexico.        

“The money that was used to buy the ammunition was given to her by another unindicted co-conspirator,” Bates said. 

Butler said the crimes Soto pleaded guilty to are not covered by federal forfeiture laws. He plans to ask the 9th Circuit to reconsider its decision.

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