For Immediate Release
Women Who Bought Firearm for Mexican Cartel Member Sentenced
Two women who purchased firearms for a member of a Mexican drug cartel have been sentenced to a combined 18 months in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.
Cassandra Gonzalez, 51, and Imajah Tierra Cervantes, her 29-year-old daughter, were indicted in March. Ms. Gonzales pleaded guilty in June to false statements during the purchase of a firearm and was sentenced in October to 6 months in federal prison. Ms. Cervantes pleaded guilty in July to straw purchasing of a firearm and was sentenced today to 12 months and one day in prison.
Ms. Cervantes is among the first defendants in the Northern District of Texas to plead guilty to an offense outlined in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, signed into law by President Biden in June 2022.
According to plea papers, Ms. Gonzalez attempted to purchase a rifle from a federally firearm license (FFL) dealer in Lubbock, Texas on Dec. 30, 2022. On ATF Form 4473, Ms. Gonzalez certified that she was purchasing the firearm for herself and stated that she resided in Garland, Texas – an address that did not match her actual current address in Lubbock.
ATF agents contacted the FFL and notified them of the address issue. They learned that Ms. Gonzalez planned to return to the store on Jan. 4, 2023, to complete the transaction.
On that date, agents observed Ms. Gonzalez and Ms. Cervantes enter the FFL. Ms. Gonzalez paid for the firearm and Ms. Cervantes carried it out of the store. Agents intercepted the women, took custody of the rifle, and separated them for questioning.
Ms. Gonzalez admitted that the address she used on Form 4473 was not correct, but initially maintained that she purchased the rifle for herself.
Ms. Cervantes, however, told agents that a Mexican man living in Dallas provided her with the money to purchase the rifle, and said that she and her mother were going to receive $2,000 for purchasing the firearm and delivering it to the man, who she knew was affiliated with a Mexican drug cartel. She admitted that she’d delivered a gun to him before and that she knew the man intended to use the firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Confronted with Ms. Cervantes’ statements, Ms. Gonzalez admitted that she lied on the form, knowing full well that she intended to purchase the firearm not for herself, but on behalf of another person.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Dallas Field Division – Lubbock Resident Agency conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew McLeod prosecuted the case.