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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

October 13, 2010

David B. Fein, United States Attorney

Contact: Tom Carson
Public Information Office
(203) 821-3722
(203) 996-1393 (cell)

Project Safe Neighborhoods: Citizen of Mexico Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Firearm Possession

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that SILVANO CRUZ-VARELA, 43, a citizen of Mexico last residing on Burr Road in Bridgeport, pleaded guilty yesterday, October 12, before United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to one count of possession of a firearm by an illegal alien.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on June 3, 2009, CRUZ-VARELA sold a Brazilian-made .38 caliber firearm and 17 rounds of ammunition to another individual in exchange for $600 outside of his Burr Road residence. Prior to that date, CRUZ-VARELA had entered the United States unlawfully.

Judge Arterton has scheduled sentencing for December 7, 2010, at which time CRUZ-VARELA faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

CRUZ-VARELA has been detained in federal custody since June 30, 2010.

This case was investigated by the Bridgeport Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives pursuant to the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Douglas P. Morabito and Robert M. Spector.

The Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative is aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, and improving the safety of residents of Connecticut’s cities. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.