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Press Release

Mexican national sent to prison for firearm charge

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

LAREDO, Texas – A 34-year-old Mexican national illegally residing in Zapata has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Abelardo Javier Caballero-Zamora pleaded guilty Jan. 5.

Today, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldana ordered Caballero-Zamora to serve 63 months in federal prison. Not a U.S. citizen, Caballero-Zamora is expected to face removal proceedings following his imprisonment.

At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence that described how Caballero-Zamora admitted to relatives on recorded jail calls that he had been consuming drugs continuously for several days prior to the offense, but claimed to have no memory of it. Judge Saldana also noted his lengthy criminal record was an “absolute nightmare” and admonished him directly, telling him he needed to “grow up” and remain in Mexico.

On April 3, 2021, authorities responded to an emergency call reporting Caballero-Zamora was threatening people at a local motel. Law enforcement arrived to the location and found Caballero-Zamora illegally in possession of a loaded .44 caliber revolver. The Investigation revealed Caballero-Zamora had also pointed a handgun at a local Zapata store clerk earlier that same day.

As both an undocumented alien and a felon, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition per federal law. Caballero-Zamora was previously convicted in 2020 of illegally re-entering the United States after a previous deportation, a felony.

Caballero-Zamora will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation with the Zapata County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francisco J. Rodriguez is prosecuting the case.

Updated August 25, 2022

Firearms Offenses