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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


BRADLEY J. SCHLOZMAN



Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html



FEBRUARY 21, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


NITRO UPDATE

JURY CONVICTS MEXICAN NATIONAL

FOR ILLEGAL FIREARM


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Bradley J. Schlozman, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Mexican national was convicted by a federal jury today for illegally possessing a firearm. Today’s conviction is the result of a successful investigation completed by the NITRO Task Force.


             Hugo Alonzo Cervantes, 25, a citizen of Mexico residing in Kansas City, Mo., was found guilty of being an unlawful user of marijuana in possession of a firearm.


             Cervantes was arrested on July 25, 2006, after law enforcement officers found a Heritage .40-caliber pistol and a plastic baggie containing marijuana during a search of his residence. Under federal law, Schlozman explained, it is illegal for an unlawful user of a controlled substance to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition.


            Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in U.S. District Court in Kansas City deliberated about half an hour before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith, ending a trial that began this morning.


            Under federal statutes, Cervantes could be subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Marquez. It was investigated by the NITRO Task Force, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.


NITRO

            NITRO, the Northwest Missouri Team Response Operation, is a task force led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. NITRO is a joint law enforcement effort by federal, state and local agencies in the 16-county region.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html