Collier couple indicted on gun smuggling charges

Posted at 6:15 PM, Aug 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-03 18:15:41-04

A Golden Gate couple faces federal charges of trying to smuggle high-powered weapons to South America. According to federal investigators, Miguel Jiminez Borda, 38, and Alejandra Maria Mayo, 34, tried to ship 15 guns to Bolivia.

"I'm very surprised," said the couple's former Golden Gate landlord, who asked not to be identified. "We never had any inclination anything like this wold happen."

He said Borda and Mayo suddenly moved out of the home they had occupied for the past 3 years on Coronado Parkway a few weeks ago. Days later, federal agents swarmed the house.

"They pretty well tore the place apart," the landlord said. "Not destructively, they just looked every pace they could have. What they were looking for, I don't know."

Documents from the Department of Justice say that in late June, the couple went to a Fed Ex store on Vanderbilt Beach Road to ship 5 boxes containing 15 firearms - many of them AK-47 and AR-15-type weapons - to Bolivia.

When the couple paid almost $6,000 in cash to ship the boxes, which they said contained "legal documents," Fed Ex employees became suspicious.

"That's definitely a red flag that went up, and would provide a little more scrutiny of what's in those boxes," said private investigator Walt Zalisko. "The Fed Ex employees definitely did the right thing by contacting law enforcement."

The Fed Ex employees told officers that Borda and Mayo had also sent about 50 large boxes to Bolivia since August 2016. Zalisko said that kind of volume is a likely sign of a larger gun smuggling operation.

"A lot of times, these gun-runners, they're not going to go out and steal the weapons themselves," he said. "They have mules that will go out and steal these guns."

Borda and Mayo each face 2 counts of attempting to smuggle firearms. If convicted, they both face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.