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Jury deliberations begin in NM gun smuggling case

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Jul 31 2012 09:24:37 PM CDT
Updated On: Feb 10 2014 02:05:19 PM CST
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

The courtroom was packed full of family and friends of the Reese family as the prosecution and the defense presented closing arguments in federal court on Tuesday.

The prosecution replayed parts of the audio and video recordings from their four-month-long undercover operation looking into the Reese family's activities.

Prosecutors brought up comments made by various members of the Reese family they considered incriminating and called the family "irresponsible."

One comment that garnered a lot of attention was when Rick Reese is heard telling Mexican drug cartel member turned government informant, Jose Roman, he hopes some of the guns he sells in his store make their way to Mexico to shoot corrupt "federales."

The defense argued those comments were taken out of context and that Rick Reese was merely expressing a political opinion.

Defense attorney Robert Gorence said in his closing argument, "You have to find actual knowledge (of the guns going to Mexico), not just, 'They should have known or could have known.' There is no evidence of actual knowledge at all. None. Even with their cherry picked snippets on the tape."

Defense attorney Bernadette Sedillo added in her closing argument, "Both Roman (and members of the Reese family) were making ridiculous statements. Nobody in that conversation meant those statements literally."

The defense also attacked the credibility of Roman, the main informant in this case.

Gorence said, "Jose Roman was arrested January 21. Five days later, on January 26, (the government) decided they want to make a deal with Roman. It's almost unbelievable that the government wants to vouch for someone who works for an organization that beheads people."

Rick and Terri Reese, and their two sons, Ryin and Remington, are accused of knowingly selling guns to purchasers for Roman to smuggle to Mexico for a drug cartel.

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