Ocala, FL – United States District Judge Roy B. Dalton, Jr., has sentenced Jose Merced Sanchez De La Torre (43, Ocala) to 46 months in federal prison for illegal reentry by a previously deported alien and unlawful possession of a firearm by an alien. Sanchez De La Torre had pleaded guilty on September 24, 2020.
According to court documents, on August 31, 2020, the FBI received a tip that a residence in Ocala contained illegal aliens and firearms. U.S. Customs and Border Protection researched the address and determined that one of the residents, Sanchez De La Torre, was an illegal alien from Mexico. Sanchez De La Torre previously had been deported from the United States, in 2015, following federal convictions for unlawful possession of a firearm (an aggravated felony) and seven counts of structuring financial transactions.
On September 8, 2020, law enforcement officers executed an arrest warrant at the residence. During a search of the premises, a large amount of ammunition and three firearms were located, including an AK-47 rifle. As both an illegal alien and a convicted felon, Sanchez De La Torre is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition under federal law.
This case was investigated by the FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tyrie Boyer.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence and enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes. For more information on Project Guardian visit www.justice.gov/projectguardian.