New Jersey Man Pleads Guilty to Charges of Interstate Firearms Trafficking and False Statements to Federal Agents
Orlando, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that Luis Velazquez-Pinero (39, New Jersey) today pleaded guilty to interstate trafficking in firearms and making a false statement to a federal agency. Velazquez-Pinero faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.
According to the plea agreement, on July 1, 2011, ATF agents observed an unlicensed gun dealer sell 22 firearms directly to Velazquez-Pinero in a parking lot in Oviedo, Florida. Velazquez-Pinero loaded the weapons into his automobile and left the area. During a subsequent traffic stop, an undercover ATF agent, posing as a local detective, approached Velazquez-Pinero and asked him if he was in possession of any firearms. Although Velazquez Pinero denied having any weapons, a consensual search of his automobile revealed the 21 handguns and an AK-47 style rifle that he had just purchased. Agents seized the firearms after Velazquez-Pinero falsely told them that the firearms were part of his private collection and that he had owned them for “five years.”
Further investigation revealed that Velazquez-Pinero is a New Jersey resident and had traveled to Florida specifically to acquire firearms for the purpose of illegally reselling them without a license. ATF’s Licensing Center confirmed that Velazquez-Pinero did not have, nor had he ever applied for, a federal firearms license. As a New Jersey resident, Velazquez-Pinero is prohibited under federal law from traveling to other states to acquire firearms for resale in the absence of a federal firearms license.
This case was jointly investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE). It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.