ILLEGAL ALIEN PLEADS GUILTY TO FIREARMS AND DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGES
SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that Jose Luis Ariciaga-Banda, 28, of Mexico, pleaded guilty Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Donald E. Walter to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a felon, possession of a firearm and ammunition by an illegal alien, possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, and illegal reentry into the United States after deportation.
According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, Louisiana State Troopers stopped the truck Ariciaga-Banda was driving on August 7, 2013 on Mansfield Road in Shreveport for a traffic violation. He was found to be a Mexican citizen and illegally in the United States. An Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent who arrived at the scene placed the defendant under arrest. A search warrant was also obtained and executed at Ariciaga-Banda’s residence. A 9 mm pistol, ammunition, money and approximately 18 pounds of marijuana were found at Ariciaga-Banda’s residence. The defendant was previously convicted in September of 2008 for possession of cocaine in Caddo Parish District Court. In November of 2010, he was convicted in federal court of two counts of possession of a firearm by an alien illegally in the United States and a count of illegal reentry after his deportation from the United States.
Ariciaga-Banda faces 10 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm; 10 years in prison for being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm; 20 years in prison for illegal reentry after deportation; and five years in prison for possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Each count also carries up to a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is set for June 26, 2014.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Louisiana State Police, the Caddo Parish Sheriff-Shreveport Police Drug Task Force, and the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert W. Gillespie Jr. prosecuted this case as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide program started in 2001 designed to reduce violence by aggressively enforcing existing federal firearms laws.