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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Okeechobee County Illegal Alien Pleads Guilty to Illegal Possession of Firearm

An Okeechobee County man pled guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Frank J. Lynch, Jr. to illegal possession of a firearm.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Hugo Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Office, and Paul C. May, Sheriff, Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), made the announcement.

Martin Alvarez-Moreno, 34, of Fort Pierce, Florida, pled guilty to an indictment charging him possession of a firearm by an alien illegally/unlawfully in the U.S.

According to the stipulated factual basis, on November 7, 2014, Okeechobee County Sherriff’s Office received a 911 call with a complaint of a domestic disturbance involving Alvarez-Moreno and a firearm. Upon arrival, OCSO Deputy Sheriffs encountered Alvarez-Moreno standing outside the location. After describing the dispute he was having with his wife, Alvarez-Moreno admitted to the deputies that there was a weapon in his nearby vehicle and provided the keys to the vehicle. An OCSO deputy recovered the Marlin Model 881 rifle from inside the vehicle. The complainant, who identified herself as Alvarez-Moreno’s wife did not want to prosecute. Because there were no other witnesses to the altercation, neither party wished to pursue charges, Alvarez-Moreno agreed to leave the premises and OCSO did not make any arrests at that time. The rifle was transported and placed into OCSO’s evidence for safekeeping.

In the following weeks, Alvarez-Moreno and his wife returned to OSCO four times, and provided written statements of Alvarez-Moreno’s ownership, in order for the return of the firearm. OCSO evidence custodians did not release the firearm because Alvarez-Moreno failed to provide documentation, proving that he was authorized to possess and own a firearm, which was manufactured outside the State of Florida. It was later discovered, that Alvarez-Moreno had illegally entered the U.S. by crossing the border in Arizona in March 2003.

Alvarez-Moreno is scheduled to be sentenced on May 8, at 9:30 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra. He faces up to 10 years in prison, followed by up to three years of supervised release, and possible deportation.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the ICE-HSI, ATF, and OCSO. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated March 16, 2015