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Feb. 12, 2009

LYING TO BUY FIREARMS LANDS ALAMO MAN IN FEDERAL PRISON

Gun found at Mexican crime scene traced back to defendant

(McALLEN, Texas) - Armando Villagomez Jr., 33, of Alamo, Texas has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for lying on federal firearms forms to purchase weapons that were smuggled into Mexico, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. Villagomez was sentenced today by United States District Judge Randy Crane. There is no parole in the federal system.

Indicted in July 2008, Villagomez was convicted in November 2008 following a guilty plea to knowingly making a false statement on ATF Form 4473 when he stated he was the actual purchaser of three AR-15s when he knew he was not the actual purchaser. Villagomez was also accused of making similar false statements regarding the purchase of three additional AR-15s and five semi-automatic 9mm pistols. Villagomez was hired to purchase firearms that would then be taken into Mexico and delivered to drug cartels. At the time of purchase, Villagomez  completed ATF Form 4473 and falsely stated that he was the actual purchaser when he knew Armando (last name unknown) was the actual purchaser.

The investigation leading to the charges against Villgomez was initiated in July 2008 by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) after one of the semi-automatic pistols purchased by Villagomez on May 8, 2008, was recovered by Mexican officials when they were assaulted with various weapons including fragmentation grenades by a heavily armed drug cartel members in Mexico.

Today, the court held Villagomez responsible for purchasing more than 31 firearms which he was aware were to be and were taken to Mexicoand the court further held that Villagomez had reason to believe that the weapons would be used or possessed in connection with another felony offense.

Villagomez has been in federal custody since his arrest and will remain in custody to serve his sentence.

The investigation was conducted by ATF and the case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven Schammel.

 

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