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Arizona man sentenced to 15 months in prison over weapons smuggling charge

An Arizona man charged with smuggling weapons across the U.S.-Mexico border was sentenced to prison time this week. 

U.S. District Judge James Soto sentenced 27-year-old Alejandro Valles to 15 months in prison for his role in a weapons smuggling scheme in 2018. Court filings say in October of that year, Valles placed an online order for a grenade launcher designed to attach to a rifle. He sent the package to another person in southern Arizona who smuggled it to Mexico.  

Government prosecutors say later that year, a Mexican citizen placed an order for another grenade launcher and had it shipped to Valles. They say he intended to smuggle the weapon into Mexico, but it was intercepted by law enforcement before making it to him.

Judge Soto previously sentenced the Mexican citizen charged with working with Valles to 33 months in prison. Both men pleaded guilty to their charges. 

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.