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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
For Immediate Release
Trina A. Higgins, United States Attorney
Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Four Utah Residents Prosecuted for Gun Related Offenses, Firearms Allegedly Intended for Mexico

SALT LAKE CITY — Four Salt Lake County residents are accused of participating in the purchase of or attempted purchase of numerous firearms in Utah and supplying them to Mexico.

According to court documents, Jose Manuel Barbosa Torres, 36, of West Valley City; Armando Figueroa Jr., 20, of Magna; Cecilio Luis Arriaga, 27, of West Valley City; and Iliana Dennis, 20, of West Valley City, were charged in a sealed indictment on Oct. 18. The defendants are accused of purchasing or attempting to purchase numerous Barrett .50 BMG caliber rifles between April 2023 and August 2023. The purchases were from Federal Firearm Licensees (FFLs). These firearms typically retail between $8,500 to $10,000. In furtherance of the crime, each defendant filled out an ATF Form 4473, wherein they indicated they were the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm and certified the submitted information was accurate, when it was false.

In August 2023, ATF agents intercepted Barbosa Torres and Dennis during an attempted firearm purchase. Barbosa Torres allegedly told agents Dennis was purchasing the firearm at his request, and that the firearm was ultimately destined for Cesar Rivera, who was in Arizona. During the investigation, Barbosa Torres again acknowledged the firearms were being purchased for Rivera, and stated Rivera was sending the firearms to Culiacán, Mexico. Rivera recently appeared before the U.S. District Court in the District of Utah for a firearms case in Arizona. He was arrested in Utah on Oct. 23, at Barbosa Torres’ West Valley City residence. Barbosa Torres, Figueroa, Arriaga and Dennis were also arrested on Oct. 23, on warrants related to the indictment.

Barbosa Torres is charged with making false statements during the acquisition or attempted acquisition of firearms and aiding and abetting. Figueroa, Arriaga and Dennis are also charged respectively in the indictment. All defendants had their initial court appearances and detention hearings on Oct. 27. Figueroa, Arriaga and Dennis were released from custody on conditions. Barbosa Torres was ordered detained pending trial.

U.S. Attorney, Trina A. Higgins, of the District of Utah made the announcement.

ATF is investigating the case.

Assistant United States Attorney Victoria McFarland of the District of Utah is prosecuting the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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