Illegal Alien Indicted on Firearm Possession and False Statement Charges in Connection with Shooting of Two Year-Old
Orlando, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces an indictment charging Luis Javier Farias-Mendoza (20, Ocoee) with possession of a firearm and ammunition by an illegal alien and making a false statement to a federal agency. If convicted on all counts, Farias-Mendoza faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.
According to the arrest affidavit, Ocoee police officers contacted Farias-Mendoza at Health Central Hospital on December 26, 2011, when hospital personnel reported that a two-year old child had been admitted with a gunshot wound to the head. After being advised of his constitutional rights, Farias-Mendoza admitted that he had been trying to put away his .22 caliber pistol when it discharged through the wall of his bedroom. After hearing yelling in the adjacent bedroom, Farias-Mendoza had set the pistol down and discovered that his two year-old cousin had been shot in the head. The child later died from the injury. Authorities subsequently recovered the .22 caliber pistol that had been in the home.
Upon further questioning, Farias-Mendoza admitted that he had purchased the firearm a year earlier and had been shooting it as recently as Christmas Eve, from a moving vehicle on local roadways. He acknowledged that he is a Mexican citizen and in the United States illegally - a fact subsequently confirmed by federal immigration agents. As an illegal alien, Farias-Mendoza is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition under federal law.
The indictment also charges Farias-Mendoza with making a false statement or declaration to a federal agency. According to the indictment, in June 2011 Farias-Mendoza falsely identified himself to an employee at the MacDill Air Force Base Visitor Center as "Christian Galarza-Rodriguez." Based on the alleged false statement, Farias-Mendoza was able to have a MacDill Air Force Base access pass issued to him in the alias name.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Ocoee Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.