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Press Release

Smith County Man Guilty of Multiple Firearms Violations

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Texas

TYLER, Texas – A 25-year-old Tyler, Texas man has been found guilty of federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown today.

               Heon Jong Yoo, a/k/a “Hank Yoo,” was found guilty today of seven counts of false statements made in connection with firearms transactions and one count of unlawful possession by a prohibited person.  The three-day jury trial occurred before U.S. District Judge Robert W. Schroeder, III. 

               According to information presented in court, Yoo was an undergraduate student at the University of Texas-Tyler.  A lawful permanent resident from South Korea, Yoo falsely represented that he was a United States citizen with respect to seven different firearms transactions, some of which involved semiautomatic weapons.  He did so after having been involuntarily committed to a mental institution in the state of New Jersey in 2013 and again in 2015.  At the time of his arrest, Yoo was in possession of multiple firearms, ammunition, and firearms accessories.  Yoo was indicted by a federal grand jury on Apr. 18, 2018. 

“This case was a great example of federal, state, and local law enforcement working together to stop a threat that really could have had tragic results,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown.  “Yoo was becoming increasingly aggressive in his behavior, and there were multiple schools where people were extremely concerned about what he was going to do.  In addition, he had weapons and a history of mental health problems.  These situations often end badly, and it was good that law enforcement worked together to get him off the streets as soon as they did.”

               Under federal statutes, Yoo faces a maximum of 5 years in federal prison for each false statement charge and up to 10 years on the unlawful possession count at sentencing.  The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.  A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

               This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Texas Department of Public Safety-Texas Rangers Division; the Smith County Sheriff’s Office; the Tyler Police Department; and the University of Texas-Tyler Police Department.  Assistance was also provided by the Department of Homeland Security, the Dallas Police Department, the Plano Police Department, the Prosper Police Department, the Collin College Police Department, the Dallas County Community College District Police Department, the Rutgers University Police Department, and the University of Connecticut Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank Coan, Lucas Machicek, and Ryan Locker.


Updated November 15, 2018

Firearms Offenses