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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Mississippi
For Immediate Release
Darren J. LaMarca, United States Attorney
www.justice.gov/usao-sdms
Friday, September 30, 2022

Mexican Man Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

Hattiesburg, Miss. – A Mexican citizen pled guilty to the federal felony offense of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.

U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Mellissa B. Harper, Acting Field Office Director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement New Orleans Field Office, made the announcement.

Gonzalo Garcia-Romero, 32, pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Hattiesburg.

According to court documents, on February 3, 2022, Jones County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a residence near Ellisville, Mississippi, responding to a report of a shooting. Upon arriving at the residence, deputies encountered a woman who said she had been hit on the head by Gonzalo Garcia-Romero. While no one had been shot, the woman said Garcia-Romero fired a pistol near her, and deputies found Garcia-Romero with a 9mm loaded pistol. Garcia-Romero was arrested by deputies. The Jones County Sheriff’s Department notified Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). ICE/ERO officials responded and determined that Garcia-Romero was illegally present in the United States and had unlawfully returned after being previously removed from the U.S. to his home nation of Mexico.

Garcia-Romero is scheduled to be sentenced on January 3, 2023. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release, plus a $250,000 fine. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney LaMarca praised the coordination and investigation of ICE/ERO, the ATF and the Jones County Sheriff’s Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stan Harris is prosecuting the case.

This case is part of the federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program. The centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s crime reduction efforts, PSN is an evidence-based program proven effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together and develop comprehensive solutions. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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