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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida
Roger B. Handberg, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Alien in Possession of Firearms and Ammunition Sentenced to Federal Prison

TAMPA, Fla. — U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara sentenced Jose Jaime Morado Zepeda, 28, to three years and six months in federal prison for being an alien in possession of multiple firearms and ammunition. Morado Zepeda entered a guilty plea on Nov. 15, 2023.

According to court documents, on June 27, 2023, a deputy from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested Morado Zepeda for driving under the influence. From the truck that Morado Zepeda was driving, deputies recovered two Colt MK IV 45 caliber pistols, a Riley Defense Inc. RAK47 7.62x39mm caliber rifle, a Romarm/Cugir GP WASR-10/63 7.62x39mm caliber rifle, a Winchester 94AE 30-30 caliber rifle and assorted ammunition.

Subsequent to his arrest, an agent from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Removal Operations performed an immigration records check on Morado Zepeda and determined that he was a native and citizen of Mexico with no legal status in the U.S.

On July 14, 2023, during an interview with federal agents, Morado Zepeda admitted that he was born in Mexico, did not have legal status in the U.S., and that he bought and owned the firearms located in the truck. 

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations Sarasota, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and the North Port Police. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Karyna Valdes.


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