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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

November 30, 2009

John E. Murphy, United States Attorney

Contact: Daryl Fields, Public Information Officer

(210) 384-7440

U.S. Citizen Living in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Sentenced on Federal Drug, Firearms and Financial Structuring Charges

United States Attorney John E. Murphy announced that in El Paso this morning, 31-year-old Ramon Eduardo Gandara, a United States citizen living in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, was sentenced to six years in federal prison for drug trafficking, firearms and U.S. currency structuring violations.

In addition, United States District Judge Philip Martinez ordered that Gandara pay a $10,000 fine. Judge Martinez also ordered that Gandara be placed under supervised release for a period of five years and perform 200 hours of community service after completing his prison term.

In August, Gandara pleaded guilty to one count of importation of a controlled substance, one count of fraudulent acquisition of a firearm and one count of structuring financial transactions in order to avoid reporting requirements By pleading guilty, Gandara admitted that on November 4, 2008, he intentionally imported from Mexico into the United States both cocaine and methamphetamine while in possession of a firearm. Gandara also admitted that he purchased and took possession of firearms on numerous occasions between 2005 and 2008 after providing false information to federal firearms licensees. One such weapon, a FN 5.7 semi-automatic pistol, was recovered on August 13, 2008, by authorities in Mexico City who were investigating a murder. Finally, Gandara admitted that from November 2006 until November 2007, he made approximately 29 deposits into his bank account in order to avoid financial transaction reporting requirements. Each bank deposit was between $9,000 and $10,000 and together, they totaled over $180,000.

This case was investigated by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorney J. Brandy Gardes prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.