News and Press Releases

Brothers Sentenced for Gun Trafficking Crimes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17, 2010

Las Vegas, Nev. – Two brothers have been sentenced to prison terms for conspiring to deal in firearms without a license and unlawfully transporting the firearms from Nevada to Mexico, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Jonnatan Weiss, 29, of Tijuana, Mexico, and Chula Vista, California, was sentenced to five years in prison, and his brother, William Weiss, 37, of Hesperia, California, was sentenced to two years in prison. Each also received three-year terms of supervised release. The sentences were imposed on Tuesday, March 16, 2010, by U.S. District Judge Edward C. Reed, Jr. The defendants pleaded guilty on November 24, 2009, to one count of conspiracy to receive, transport and deal in firearms, and to transport firearms into state of residency.

According to the court filings, on December 5, 2008, Jonnatan Weiss, then residing in Tijuana, Mexico, fraudulently obtained a Nevada identification card under the pretense that he resided at an address in North Las Vegas. Later that same day, he attempted to purchase a .45 caliber pistol from a licensed firearms dealer in Las Vegas, but was disapproved after government authorities found out that he made false statements on the gun purchase paperwork about his criminal history. Approximately one week later, on December 13, 2008, Jonnatan's brother, William, fraudulently obtained a Nevada driver's license using a North Las Vegas address, when in fact, he was a resident of California. Over the next six months, Jonnatan and William Weiss, and other conspirators, traveled from Mexico and California to Nevada for purposes of obtaining and purchasing firearms to resell to others. William Weiss served as the straw-purchaser of the firearms and the conspirators used his fraudulently obtained Nevada driver's license to circumvent restrictions on the sale of firearms to nonresidents. During this time, the conspirators received, and attempted to acquire, multiple firearms and firearm components in Nevada, specifically at least 19 pistols and three rifles, including one .50 caliber rifle. Many of the firearms were civilian versions or replicas of tactical or military firearms. The conspirators transported the firearms to California, and as part of the conspiracy, the firearms were thereafter transported to Mexico for resale to others. Neither Jonnatan or William Weiss were licensed dealers of firearms pursuant to federal law.

Another person charged in the conspiracy on December 15, 2009, Francisco Ulloa, 65, of Tijuana, Mexico, was arrested on March 2, 2010, while attempting to cross the border from Mexico into San Ysidro, California. Ulloa will be scheduled for an arraignment in Las Vegas in the near future.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) opened an investigation in the matter in February 2009, after a local gun store employee reported that William Weiss was purchasing several firearms, including an assault rifle, for cash and was driving a vehicle with a California license plate.

The case was investigated by ATF and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Drew Smith and Timothy S. Vasquez.

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