Army sergeant in Texas gets nearly 17 years in guns case

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) An Army sergeant and military recruiter in South Texas must serve nearly 17 years in prison in a scheme to funnel dozens of assault weapons to a Mexican drug cartel.

Julian Prezas. (CNN VAN photo)

Julian Prezas, 37, was sentenced Thursday in San Antonio.

The San Antonio man pleaded guilty in December to five counts of making a false statement during the purchase of firearms and one count related to attempting to export guns to Mexico.

Investigators say Prezas conspired in 2015 with several other soldiers to purchase more than 40 assault rifles illegally.

Three co-defendants received probation.

An attorney for Prezas has said his client is a decorated veteran who misunderstood gun sale laws.

Prosecutors on Thursday identified Prezas as a former sergeant. Details weren't immediately available on his military status.