Mexican National Convicted
Of Possessing Guns and Ammo on I-70
WICHITA – A Mexican national unlawfully in the United States was convicted Thursday of possessing three firearms – including an assault-type rifle – and ammunition for each of the firearms in his pickup truck on I-70 near Hays, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced.
Ernesto Hernandez-Lizardi, 31, who was born in Selia, Mexico, but was living in Anaheim, Calif., at the time he was arrested, was convicted by a federal jury here after a two-day trial before U.S. District Judge Eric F. Melgren. He is scheduled to be sentenced in the case Aug. 11 and faces a maximum sentence of 10 years on each of two counts, one count of possession of firearms by an alien unlawfully in the United States and one count of possession of ammunition.
Hernandez-Lizardi and a co-defendant, Raul Manzanarez-Rivera, 30, also from Mexico and unlawfully in the U.S., were arrested by troopers of the Kansas Highway Patrol Aug. 16, 2010, after Hernandez-Lizardi was stopped for speeding. A subsequent search of Hernandez-Lizardi’s pickup truck revealed a cloth bag containing $14,400 in cash, a Ruger .45 caliber pistol, and Bersa .380 pistol and an SKS semi-automatic assault-type rifle bearing a high-capacity “banana” magazine. Manazanarez-River pleaded guilty in the case and is scheduled to be sentenced June 27.
Once the troopers determined the men were unlawfully in the United States, they contacted Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which took custody of the men. HSI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms assisted the KHP in the investigation. The case was tried by Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Disney, assisted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson.
“We aggressively prosecute people who possess firearms but who are prohibited from doing so, such as convicted felons and those who are unlawfully present in the country,” Grissom said Friday. “In this case, where an assault rifle and loaded handguns are present with ammunition and a large amount of cash, we all know what is going on and we know what a potentially dangerous situation this was. I salute the troopers for their great work on this case, as well as HSI and ATF.”
Manzanarez-Rivera was living in Kansas City, Mo., at the time of the arrests. He told authorities he came to the United States illegally from his hometown of Tecpan De Galeana, Mexico.