MCALLEN, TX — Four people associated with making false statements in the acquisition of firearms from federal firearms licensees (FFL), commonly referred to as straw purchasing, have been sentenced to prison, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Jose Maria Flores, 21, and Arnulfo Torres, 33, both of McAllen; Rene Rene Olivo, 25, of Alamo; and Mario Reynoso Jr., 39, of Mission, all pleaded guilty to making false statements and/or aiding and abetting the making of the false statements to FFLs on Aug. 7, 2012.
Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa handed prison sentences to each of the defendants. Flores received 60 months in federal prison, while Torres, Olivo and Reynoso received respective sentences of 60, 37 and 30 months. All were further ordered to serve two-year-terms of supervised release following completion of their prison sentences. At the hearing today, additional evidence was presented indicating a total of 125 firearms were purchased between all the defendants and co-conspirators.
In March 2011, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and explosives (ATF) began an investigation into the purchase of high-powered rifles from local FFLs in McAllen. Through their investigation, agents identified the defendants as being involved in the straw purchasing of multiple firearms and admitted to doing so at their respective plea hearings.
The sentences imposed today were further enhanced as the court determined the firearms were being trafficked and used or possessed for another felony offense.
Reynoso was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future, while Flores, Torres and Olivo have been and will remain in custody.
The investigation was conducted by the ATF and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Juan Villescas.