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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida
For Immediate Release
Thursday, January 18, 2024

Jacksonville Man Pleads Guilty to Smuggling and Straw-Purchasing Firearms

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Gabriel Daniel Pinnace, 31, of Jacksonville, has pleaded guilty to smuggling firearms from the U.S. and making materially false statements during the purchase of a firearm. Pinnace faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison for each offense. A sentencing date has not been set.

According to the plea agreement, on May 15, 2021, Pinnace and an individual in a related case, Antonio Reyes, attempted to smuggle three firearms and 57 rounds of ammunition from Jacksonville to Venezuela. Prior to that date, Reyes enlisted Pinnace to purchase the firearms from federally licensed firearms dealers with knowledge that the firearms would be sent to Venezuela. Pinnace purchased the firearms after falsifying ATF Forms 4473, which are required for all firearms purchases. After purchasing the firearms, Pinnace scratched the serial numbers off two of the firearms and provided them to Reyes, who then concealed the firearms and ammunition in a futon that he attempted to mail using a freight forwarding service. Employees from the freight forwarder observed the firearms during a routine x-ray of the parcel and contacted law enforcement. On May 22, 2021, agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seized the three firearms, which included a Glock 17 pistol and two Smith and Wesson M&P 15 rifles. Forensic technicians at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) restored the obliterated serial numbers, which allowed ATF agents to trace the firearms back to Pinnace. On May 24, 2021, Pinnace reported the firearms as stolen. Following Reyes’s arrest on unrelated state charges on Aug. 11, 2023, federal agents from ATF, HSI and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) searched Reyes’s cellphone and found conversations between Reyes and Pinnace discussing trafficking firearms to Venezuela.

On Aug. 26, 2023, ATF, HSI and CBP agents conducted an operation to purchase firearms directly from Pinnace. That morning, Pinnace met with an undercover agent and agreed to sell the agent three firearms. That afternoon, agents surveilled Pinnace as he travelled to a gun store in Jacksonville, where he falsified another ATF Form 4473 and purchased two firearms. After leaving the store with what appeared to be a gun box, Pinnace travelled to meet with the undercover agent. At that meeting, Pinnace sold the undercover the three firearms and instructed the undercover to scratch off the serial numbers.

Reyes previously pleaded guilty to smuggling firearms from the U.S. and conspiring to use a facility of interstate commerce to commit a murder-for-hire on Jan. 3. His sentencing hearing is set for April 23, 2024.

This case was investigated by ATF, HSI and CBP. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aakash Singh.

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.


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