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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Tennessee

Friday, September 25, 2015

Dickson Resident Found Guilty Of Being In The U.S. Illegally Possessing Firearms

Hector Palma Zapien, 43, of Dickson, Tennessee, was found guilty today by a federal jury of illegally re-entering the United States after being deported and of being an illegal alien in possession of firearms, announced David Rivera, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.  After a three-day trial, the jury returned guilty verdicts on both counts against Mr. Zapien.

According to the proof at trial, Zapien was removed from the United States in 2001 after being found here illegally.  Zapien was again found to be in the U.S. illegally in February 2014.  When federal agents searched his home pursuant to a federal search warrant, agents found 6 firearms, including rifles, shotguns and pistols, along with ammunition, and over $180,000 in cash.   Proof and at trial also showed that during the past several years, Zapien had made numerous attempts to enter the U.S. with false identification documents.

Zapien faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the conviction for illegal reentering the United States.  He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the conviction for being an illegal alien unlawfully possessing firearms.  Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.

A co-defendant charged with unlawfully possessing firearms was acquitted at the trial.

This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, the IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas J. Jaworski and Sandra G. Moses prosecuted the case.

Updated February 4, 2016