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Woman gets 15 years in prison on gun-running conviction

GULFPORT (AP) — A woman convicted of running guns to Mexico has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Halil S. Ozerden sentenced Paula Villalva-Patricio on Thursday in Gulfport following her conviction by a jury in July on charges including conspiracy and smuggling. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina, resident was also fined $20,000.

Court papers show that Patricio’s nephew, Javier Molina, told investigators in 2012 that Patricio ran a gun-smuggling ring. Javier was stopped in Mississippi in 2011 in a pickup carrying nine rifles, five shotguns, eight pistols, 902 rounds of ammunition, and other items. Authorities located the truck after secretly attaching a tracking device during an earlier traffic stop in the same Mississippi county.

Both Molina and Jose Luis Santos-Garcia, Patricio’s husband, were sentenced to prison in 2012.