News and Press Releases

CBP Officer Arrested for Lying to Buy Firearms

May 25, 2012

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer Manuel Eduardo Pena, 38, has been arrested and charged with straw purchasing firearms, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

Pena, of Brownsville, Texas, was taken into custody last night and the criminal complaint was filed this morning. He made an appearance before U.S. Magistrate Ronald G. Morgan this morning who ordered he be released upon posting a $50,000 bond. His next appearance in federal court is set for May 31, 2012. 

An investigation by the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Office of Professional Responsibility (ICE-OPR) revealed the purchase of two firearms in December 2011 at the Academy Sports and Outdoors Store in Brownsville, Texas. The firearms were allegedly purchased on behalf of an individual who did not have proper documentation to buy a gun on his own. According to the complaint, Pena falsely swore on two occasions he was purchasing the guns as the actual buyer when in fact he was purchasing the gun for another individual in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 924(a)(1)(A).

Pena has been a CBP officer for 12 years. These charges are unrelated to his official duties.

Pena faces a up to a five years in federal prison if convicted.

FBI and ICE-OPR investigated. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Oscar Ponce and Karen Betancourt.

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law






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