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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

March 30, 2010

José Angel Moreno, United States Attorney

Contact: Angela Dodge

Public Information Officer

(713) 567-9388

San Juan Man Sentenced for Lying and Buying 18 Firearms

(McALLEN, Texas) — Bernardo Garza, 44, of San Juan, Texas, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for lying to buy firearms, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. Chief United States District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa handed down the prison term at a hearing today. The prison term is to be followed by a two-year-term of supervised release.

The investigation leading to the charges began on April 17, 2009, when a firearm purchased by Garza was found in the possession of another individual as he attempted to illegally export it into Mexico. A subsequent firearms trace revealed Garza had purchased the firearm six days before. Garza was arrested and subsequently charged with making false statements and representations in connection with the acquisition of a Beretta 9 mm pistol. In September 2009, Garza pleaded guilty to the federal firearms offense. Today, the court held Garza responsible 17 other firearms to which he admitted to making false statements and representations during their purchase. Garza admitted that he knew that the firearms were going to Mexico.

In federal custody without bond since his arrest in June 2009, Garza will remain in custody to serve his sentence.

The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven Schammel.