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March 15,, 2012

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HPL Felon Gets 24+ Years

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Previously convicted felon Richard Angel Gonzales, 39, of Corpus Christi, Texas, has been handed a 293-month prison term, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Gonzales, a member of the Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos (HPL) prison gang, was convicted by a jury’s verdict for one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm as well as two counts of being a felon in possession of ammunition.

During the January 2012 trial, the jury learned that on Nov. 1, 2010, Corpus Christi police officers were called out to the Paradise Bay Apartments in Corpus Christi in reference to a domestic disturbance involving a firearm. When officers arrived they spoke with a woman who was still crying. The woman told police that Gonzales was staying with her at her apartment and that he had physically assaulted her, thus breaking her glasses. Gonzales had also pointed a loaded .45 caliber pistol and threatened to shoot her. Police located a loaded .45 caliber pistol and Gonzales was arrested and taken to the Nueces County Detention Center where he was interviewed by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Gonzales denied assaulting the woman and claimed he was only in possession of the firearm because he took it away from her because she was trying to shoot him. According to testimony, Gonzales admitted the woman had previously purchased a firearm off the streets which he had already sold and that the ammunition to that firearm was located in the closet at the woman’s apartment. ATF agents obtained consent to search the apartment and located a box of .380 ammunition.

At trial, Gonzales took the stand in his own defense, at which time the jury learned that Gonzales had two convictions for attempted murder, two convictions for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one conviction for aggravated assault on a public servant and one conviction for deadly conduct.

The jury returned its verdicts on Jan. 10, 2012, following one and a half days of trial testimony and approximately two hours of deliberation.

Additional evidence was presented today that led to an enhancement of the sentence ultimately imposed by Senior U.S. District Judge Hayden Head. According to that evidence, on Nov. 8, 2010, while in state custody, Gonzales phoned the victim and threatened, intimidated and unlawfully influenced her to file a false affidavit of non-prosecution claiming the gun belonged to her. He also called another woman and instructed her to destroy evidence in this case.

He was remanded to custody following the return of the verdicts after trial, where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The case was investigated by Corpus Christi Police Department and ATF. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Hugo R. Martinez.