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Prosecution presents video evidence in NM gun smuggling case

All 14 jurors inside the federal courthouse in Las Cruces wore headphones and watched hour-long videos from an undercover operation looking into the Reese family.

Prosecutors presented the audio and video recordings from a months-long operation using known gun smuggler turned government informant, Jose Roman, and a special agent from Homeland Security, Danny Ramirez.

Both men wore button cameras during various operations to record transactions between them and members of the Reese family in their Deming, N.M., store, New Deal Sporting Goods. Ramirez posed as a straw purchaser for Roman to take the guns to the Mexican drug cartel.

On one instance, Ramirez said they purchased thousands of rounds of ammunition and five AK-47 assault rifles.

During testimony, Roman was heard telling Rick Reese that weapons were taken to Mexico.

“I do my business, buy and go back,” Roman told prosecutors. “I want to do business as always with the New Deal store.”

Following the purchase, Rick Reese was seen loading ammunition into Roman’s vehicle with Roman heard saying, “I will see you again in a week or two.”

Roman told the jury the weapons purchased that day under camera surveillance were taken directly to federal authorities. He testified he had already made a plea agreement prior to working as an informant.

“I spoke to them because I wanted to tell them the truth, so they wouldn’t put any more charges against me. I did not expect them to reduce the charges,” Roman said.

He also testified that his upcoming sentence for a previous arrest of gun smuggling was between six-and-a-half and eight years in prison. Roman had already plead guilty to purchasing firearms illegally. He admitted in court that weapons were taken to Mexico and delivered to the La Linea Cartel.

Defense attorney Brad Hall asked Ramirez if he ever told the Reese family he was a criminal. Ramirez said no.

Hall then asked Ramirez,”You used the word ‘insinuation.’ You said when Roman was talking to Remington (Reese) there was insinuation taking place?”

Ramirez replied, “That’s correct.”

Hall asked if insinuation is the evidence this entire case is based on.Ramirez said no and that there are parts of the conversations that he interpreted as suspicious.

The trial is expected to carry on for at least another two to three weeks.

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