McALLEN, Texas (KXAN) – A Texas woman will spend three years in federal prison for exporting firearms and ammunition, according to an announcement Thursday from the office of the United States Attorney’s Southern District of Texas.
The office said Brenda Belinda Barba, 33, of Spring, Texas, pleaded guilty on April 7, 2022.
At the time of her plea, Barba admitted to attempting to unlawfully exporting a Glock 9mm pistol, Glock .22 caliber pistol, four Glock pistol magazines, and 550 rounds of various caliber ammunition.
U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez ordered Barba to serve three years in federal prison Thursday to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release, according to the announcement.
The U.S. Attorney’s office said on Nov. 29, 2021, Barba attempted to exit the United States at the Anzalduas Port of Entry in Mission. At that time, she told law enforcement she had nothing to declare, to include firearms and ammunition. However, upon inspection of the vehicle, authorities discovered two pistols, magazines, and ammunition concealed in her handbag.
Barba told agents that she had purchased the firearms at an Academy Sports and Outdoors store and was planning to take them to her family’s ranch in Mexico, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Barba was not a licensed gun exporter and did not have permission to export the guns to Mexico.
At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence regarding WhatsApp messages Barba sent on the morning of her arrest negotiating the purchases and transport of the firearms. In handing down the sentence, Judge Alvarez noted how cartels use any and all types of firearms and all firearms pose a danger to the safety of all communities, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
The judge also highlighted how Barba’s story about taking the firearms to her family’s ranch did not coincide with messages she sent describing her willingness to take as many and transport as often as needed.
Barba was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.