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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Eastern District of California

For Immediate Release

Monday, April 30, 2012

Benjamin B. Wagner, United States Attorney

Contact: Lauren Horwood

Illegal Alien Pleaded Guilty to a Federal Firearms Offense

FRESNO, Calif. — United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Hector Gonzalez, 19, of Fresno, pleaded guilty today to being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.

According to court documents, on December 10, 2011, Gonzalez was a passenger in a car that was the subject of a traffic stop by Fresno Police. An officer discovered a .22–caliber gun on Gonzalez during a pat–down search. Gonzalez admitted that he was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and had not pursued citizenship in the United States. He admitted that he affiliated with the East Side Bulldogs since he was 15 years old.

For criminal street gangs, weapons are the tools of the trade. Taking gang members and their guns off the street makes our community safer, said Clark Settles, the special agent in charge who oversees ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Fresno. Homeland Security Investigations will continue to work closely with its federal, state and local law enforcement partners to disarm and dismantle these organizations that are spreading crime and violence through our neighborhoods.

ATF is committed to preventing violent crime and pursuing criminals who unlawfully possess firearms and are members of a gang, said Stephen C. Herkins, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Too often, guns and gangs is a deadly combination.

Gonzalez is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill on July 9, 2012. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Fresno Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Sanchez is prosecuting the case.