A man who purchased two rifles found at the scene of the fatal shooting of a federal agent north of the Arizona-Mexico border has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison.
Jaime Avila Jr. on Wednesday received the maximum sentence of 57 months based on federal guidelines.
Avila's attorney had pleaded for leniency, saying her client was deeply remorseful and had substance abuse problems.
Federal prosecutors had asked for the maximum penalty, saying Avila not only bought guns for drug cartels but also recruited others to do so.
The 25-year-old Avila, who purchased at least two AK-47 type rifles found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's murder, had pled guilty to illegal gun dealing and conspiracy.
Avila was not charged directly in Terry's murder. He was a firearms buyer who illegally trafficked guns into the hands of Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel while under surveillance in ATF's Operation Fast and Furious. The guns allowed to hit the streets came back to haunt the U.S. (as objecting ATF agents warned they might) on Dec. 14, 2010 when armed Mexican bandits used them in an assault on Terry and other border agents in Arizona near the Mexican border.
Other guns related to ATF "gunwalking" were used in the murder of US ICE Agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico in Feb. 2011, six months after Terry's murder. Fifteen of the 20 alleged weapons traffickers in Fast and Furious have pled guilty. Trial is set for January for five remaining suspects. In a separate case regarding Terry's murder, Mexican citizen Manuel Osorio-Arellanes earlier pled guilty to avoid the death penalty and will be sentenced March 1. One additional suspect in Terry's murder is in custody, three others are fugitives.