United States Attorney John M. Bales
Eastern District of Texas
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||CONTACT: DAVILYN WALSTON|
|TUESDAY, JUNE 9, 2009||PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER|
|WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe||PHONE: (409) 839-2538 CELL: (409) 553-9881|
PORT ARTHUR MAN SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS FOR FEDERAL FIREARMS CHARGES
BEAUMONT, TX - U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that a 52-year-old Port Arthur man has been sentenced for federal firearms violations in the Eastern District of Texas.
JAVIER PEREZ OCHOA pleaded guilty on Nov. 25, 2008, to being a felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield.
According to information presented in court, Ochoa was arrested as the result of a federal investigation tracking a gun located in Mexico which had originated in the United States. The gun was traced to MARICELA ALCALA OCHOA, 39, of Port Arthur. Federal law enforcement agents executed a search warrant at Ochoa's Port Arthur home where they discovered three firearms. Further investigation revealed the guns were purchased for Javier Ochoa by his wife, Maricela Ochoa. The wife stated she purchased the guns for her husband because he is a convicted felon and could not make the purchases himself. Javier Ochoa was convicted of Sexual Assault in Jefferson County in 1986, and as a convicted felon, is prohibited by federal law from owning or possessing handguns or ammunition.
During the course of the investigation, Javier Ochoa admitted to possessing and transporting between 25 and 99 guns to Mexico. ATF firearm purchase records indicate that Maricela Ochoa had purchased at least 36 firearms from 1999 to 2008. Maricela Ochoa admitted that all the firearms were purchased and given to her husband.
"There is no question that Mexican drug trafficking organizations are the principal beneficiaries of firearms trafficking from the United States to Mexico," said U.S. Attorney Bales. "Those same weapons are being used to eliminate rivals, murder innocent civilians and attack the Mexican government. Today's sentencing of Javier Ochoa is a small, but significant step in addressing this increasingly difficult criminal justice problem."
A federal grand jury returned an indictment on Apr. 2, 2008 charging Javier Ochoa with being a felon in possession and Maricela Ochoa with knowingly transferring firearms to a convicted felon. Maricela Ochoa pleaded guilty on Nov. 25, 2008, and was sentenced to 13 months in federal prison on Apr. 1, 2009.
U.S. Attorney Bales had this to say about those smuggling guns to Mexico, "The Department of Justice, the ATF, and the U.S. Attorney's Office are taking direct aim on the plague of gun smuggling to Mexico and we are giving notice to those who act as conduits for these weapons – We are coming after you."
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle S. Englade.
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