ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

February 10, 2010

John M. Bales, United States Attorney

Contact: Davilyn Walston

Public Information Officer

Direct: (409) 981-7902

Cell: (409) 553-9881

Operation Time Machine Nets Three in Port Arthur, Texas

BEAUMONT, Texas - U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that three Port Arthur, Texas men have pleaded guilty to firearms violations as a result of Operation Time Machine in the Eastern District of Texas.

JOSE ACEBAL-BLANCO, 22, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by an illegal alien today before U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield.

LUIS ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ, 19, pleaded guilty to receipt of a firearm by a person under indictment today before Judge Heartfield.

According to information presented in court, on Jan. 1, 2010, Acebal-Blanco and Gonzalez attended a party in the 800th block of 12th Avenue in Port Arthur with an illegally purchased SKS style semi-automatic rifle hidden in the trunk of their vehicle.  Acebal-Blanco and Gonzalez, who are affiliated with the Port Arthur Norteño-14 gang, encountered members of the Sureño-13 gang at that location.  An altercation ensued and two individuals were shot and transported to the hospital with critical injuries.  A federal grand jury indicted Acebal-Blanco and Gonzalez on Jan 13, 2010, and charged them with federal firearms violations.  Acebal-Blanco faces up to 10 years in federal prison and Gonzalez faces up to 5 years in federal prison at sentencing.  This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Baylor Wortham.

JORGE VARELA, 20, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by an illegal alien today before U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone. 

According to information presented in court, Varela was arrested on Nov. 2, 2009, in connection with a drive-by shooting which occurred on Sep. 12, 2009 in Port Arthur.  Varela was indicted by a federal grand jury on Dec. 2, 2009, and charged with federal firearms violations.  He faces up to 10 years in federal prison at sentencing.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Ross.

These cases are being investigated by the Port Arthur Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and are being prosecuted as part of Operation Time Machine, a federal and local partnership to reduce gun and drug related violent crime in Port Arthur, Texas.

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