Illegal to Export Ammo?


August 21, 2006, 10:41 PM
I was reading the local paper here in South Texas a week or two ago about a woman arrested for trying to export ammunition to Mexico. She was a Mexican national about whom Customs had suspicions when she crossed over here. They followed her to several gun stores where she loaded up on various types of ammo. She had thousands, THOUSANDS of rounds in her van when arrested. She said that she was paid a certain amount per box she crossed back into Mexico. She was arrested on an unspecified felony charge.

I know that it is illegal to carry your arms/ammo into Mexico under Mexican law.

Is it illegal by American law? What might her crime have been? Illegal for non-resident to purchase ammo? Illegal to export? Is there some kind of agreement in place where American customs arrests people in Texas who intend to break Mexican law? What gives?

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August 21, 2006, 11:15 PM
They probably popped her for violating 18 USC 922(g)(5).

August 21, 2006, 11:45 PM
So they arrested her for not having a hunting license?

US Code: Title 18
§ 922. Unlawful acts

(g) It shall be unlawful for any person—
(5) who, being an alien—
(A) is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or
(B) except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa
-to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

(y) Provisions Relating to Aliens Admitted Under Nonimmigrant Visas.—
(2) Exceptions.— do not apply to any alien who has been lawfully admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa, if that alien is—
(A) admitted to the United States for lawful hunting or sporting purposes or is in possession of a hunting license or permit lawfully issued in the United States;
(B) an official representative of a foreign government who is—
(C) an official of a foreign government or a distinguished foreign visitor
(D) a foreign law enforcement officer on official law enforcement business.Code snipped for brevity.

Ok, thanks for the reference, wdlsguy.

August 22, 2006, 12:09 AM
There are many more relevant federal codes than Title 18, section 922. Look at the EAR and ITAR rules. Defense contractors get in hot water all the time for that. It covers things on the munitions list, and that list has (in addition to munitions) computers, guidance chips, technical information, ... many many things that can hose you.

I wouldn't export a thing without investigating whether a license was required, as way too many things require a license. I'd be very careful taking a laptop computer to a foreign country because of their encryption laws or the US laws relating to export of certain software. I've also been told that quantity many times doesn't matter. One item on the controlled item list is all it takes.

August 22, 2006, 08:58 PM
I bet they probably got her for violation of the Arms Export Control Act. There are a few exemptions, but none for ammo, or guns. Sporting shotguns do have slightly easier export requirements than other weapons, but even there you need approval.

Here are some various applicable sections:
22 USC 2278
(III) No person may engage in the business of brokering activities described in subclause (I) without a license, issued in accordance with this chapter, except that no license shall be required for such activities undertaken by or for an agency of the United States Government—
(aa) for use by an agency of the United States Government; or
(bb) for carrying out any foreign assistance or sales program authorized by law and subject to the control of the President by other means.

(c) Criminal violations; punishment
Any person who willfully violates any provision of this section or section 2779 of this title, or any rule or regulation issued under either section, or who willfully, in a registration or license application or required report, makes any untrue statement of a material fact or omits to state a material fact required to be stated therein or necessary to make the statements therein not misleading, shall upon conviction be fined for each violation not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

(4) Definitions
In this section:
(A) Defense items
The term “defense items” means defense articles, defense services, and related technical data.

August 23, 2006, 01:00 AM
The Department of State controls export of all munitions. Including ammunition.

There are several exceptions to the statutes for American service members taking personally-owned firearms overseas, Americans going hunting overseas, etc. But no exception for foreign nationals NOT lawful residents of the US taking thousands of rounds out of the country.

Go to jail. Do not pass go.

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