Department of Justice Logo and United States Attorney's Office Header

Sept. 18, 2012

(713) 567-9388

Roma Women Sentenced for Involvement in a Straw Purchases Ring

MCALLEN, Texas – Two family members involved in making false statements on Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) forms 4473 in the acquisition of firearms from federal firearms licensees (FFL) will now be serving federal prison terms, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

U.S. District Judge Randy Cane sentenced Erika Lizzette Chapa, 29, and Claudia Patricia De La Cruz-Chapa, 33, both of Roma, Texas, to 37 months of imprisonment each. Each will also serve a two-year-term of supervised release following completion of their sentences. Both previously pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements in the acquisition of firearms from FFLs, commonly referred to as straw purchasing.

ATF agents received information that Chapa and De la Cruz-Chapa had each purchased several highly trafficked firearms for their brother, Jesus Chapa. The investigation later determined Erika Chapa had straw purchased nine firearms and De La Cruz-Chapa had straw purchased eight firearms for their brother. At the sentencing hearing today, the court found the women knew or should have known that the firearms were going to be trafficked to Mexico and their sentences were enhanced accordingly. 

Jesus Chapa, who is also charged in the same indictment, has not been taken into custody. He is innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.

Chapa and De La Cruz-Chapa were permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

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