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Press Release

Expired license plate stop leads to firearm conviction for Honduran

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

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A federal jury in Corpus Christi has convicted a 27-year-old man for possession of a firearm, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

The jury deliberated for approximately 45 minutes before convicting Carlos Javier Zelaya-Guerra following a two-day trial.

On Feb. 5, authorities stopped Zelaya-Guerra in Sinton for driving with an expired temporary license plate. At that time, Zelaya-Guerra admitted he had a firearm with him in the vehicle.

Zelaya-Guerra provided law enforcement with a Honduran passport, but did not have a driver’s license or any documentation allowing him to be in the United States lawfully.

Authorities later determined Zelaya-Guerra was present in the country illegally.

At trial, Zelaya-Guerra testified that he thought he had permission to be in the United States because he married a U.S. citizen who had initiated the paperwork necessary to obtain lawful status.

The jury did not believe his story and found him guilty as charged.

Zelaya-Guerra will remain in custody pending that hearing.

The San Patricio County Sheriff’s Office, Border Patrol and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joel Dunn and John Marck are prosecuting the case.

Updated August 9, 2022

Firearms Offenses