Hopkins Man Pleads Guilty To Making False Statements During Purchase Of Firearms
MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court in St. Paul, a 34-year-old Hopkins man pleaded guilty to making false statements to Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers (“FFL”) for the purpose of illegally purchasing firearms for individuals in Honduras. Jony Sevilla Cerna pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to a FFL in connection with the acquisition of a firearm. Cerna, who was charged on March 15, 2013, entered his plea before United States District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson.
In his plea agreement, Cerna admitted that on March 29, 2012, he made a false written statement to a licensed Minnetonka firearms dealer when he was purchasing a nine-millimeter pistol. In that written statement, Cerna asserted that he was buying the gun for himself, when, in fact, he was not.
In addition, Cerna admitted to the court that he had made similar false statements to various licensed firearms dealers while purchasing 26 other firearms. In truth, he had purchased each of those firearms on behalf of individuals in Honduras.
After acquiring the firearms under the false pretense that he was buying the firearms for himself, Cerna admittedly shipped or attempted to ship the firearms to Honduras by concealing them in electronic equipment. Cerna traveled to Honduras on several occasions to distribute the firearms he had shipped there to third parties and to take payment for the firearms he exported. Seven of the firearms Cerna shipped were discovered and seized at a freight-forwarding company in Miami, Florida.
For his crime, Cerna faces a potential maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison. Judge Nelson will determine his sentence at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled.
This case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Surya Saxena.