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March 8,, 2012

(713) 567-9388

Corpus Man Sent to Prison in Firearms Case

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Elias Puebla, 21, has been handed a 48-month federal prison term for illegally receiving a firearm, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Puebla was convicted by a Corpus Christi federal jury on Dec. 8, 2011, following a two-day trial and approximately one hour of deliberation.

Puebla, a Corpus Christi resident, was arrested Aug. 15, 2011, by investigating agents who were executing an arrest warrant which issued as a result of a state probation violation. Puebla was indicted on Sept. 28, 2011, and was later convicted of receiving a shotgun between on or about Feb. 2, 2011 and May 31, 2011. As he was on state probation for a felony offense, Puebla was not permitted by federal law to possess or receive a firearm. 

During trial, the government presented evidence involving the straw purchase of a shotgun by Puebla’s friend and roommate on Puebla’s behalf. He, Puebla, later tried to conceal the shotgun with a relative, who ultimately turned it over to law enforcement.

At sentencing today, the government  presented evidence that Puebla had been involved in firearms trafficking. Specifically, Puebla traveled to a gun show in Dallas, Texas, in January 2011 for the purpose of purchasing multiple firearms, including at least one AK-47 rifle. Puebla was later arrested with a ledger of firearms with prices and quantities on his person. Also presented today was evidence that just two days before his ultimate arrest in August 2011, Puebla attended a gun show in Robstown, Texas, at which he was seen by a probation officer who took pictures and video of Puebla with a long rifle strapped to his back walking around shopping at the gun show. In each of these instances, Puebla had been on state probation for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and robbery. 

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, who presided over the trial, took all evidence into consideration and ultimately handed Puebla a 48-month prison term which will be followed by three-year-term of supervised release.

The investigation leading to the criminal charges was conducted in Corpus Christi lead by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, United States Marshals Service and police departments in Corpus Christi and Victoria.

This case, prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Julie K. Hampton, was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a nationwide commitment to reduce gun and gang crime in America by networking existing local programs that target gun and gun crime and providing these programs with additional tools necessary to be successful. Since its inception in 2001, approximately $2 billion has been committed to this initiative. This funding is being used to hire new federal and state prosecutors, support investigators, provide training, distribute gun lock safety kits, deter juvenile gun crime and develop and promote community outreach efforts as well as to support other gun and gang violence reduction strategies.