Skip to main content
Press Release

NIBIN “Hit” Links Gang Member To Drive-By Shooting, Charged With Firearms Violations In Project Guardian Case

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

SALT LAKE CITY – A complaint signed by a federal magistrate judge Monday morning charges Edward Jose Peralta-Moran, age 19, of Taylorsville with possessing a firearm following a felony conviction and possession of a stolen firearm. Ramon Avila, age 22, of Salt Lake City is charged with possession of a stolen firearm.

Based on an analysis of the ballistic evidence using the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN), Utah Bureau of Forensic Services analysts linked casings recovered from a drive-by shooting in Taylorsville on Sept. 3, 2019, to a .45 caliber Smith and Wesson firearm recovered from Peralta-Moran.   The U.S. Department of Justice Project Guardian initiative emphasizes the importance of using all modern technologies available to law enforcement to promote gun crime intelligence.

NIBIN is a database system that captures, stores, and correlates digital images of spent cartridge casings recovered from crime scenes and test-fired firearms.  The Utah Crime Gun Intelligence Center uses NIBIN technology to assist law enforcement agencies in solving firearms crimes. So far this year, 1,644 NIBIN entries have been entered in Utah.  This figure includes 1,100 firearms and 544 casings from shooting scenes submitted by 38 different Utah law enforcement agencies.  The entries have resulted in 69 “hits” involving 170 cases.

According to the complaint, Unified Police Department (UPD) officers responded to a drive-by shooting at a home in Taylorsville, on Sept. 1, 2019. Officers observed bullet entry points on the exterior of the home and collected six 9 mm shell casings. They were unable to identify anyone involved in the shooting.

Two days later, on Sept. 3, 2019, a UPD officer heard what sounded like gunfire in the area of 4700 South and 2700 West and observed a car leaving the area and entering I-215. According to the complaint, about the same time dispatch started receiving emergency calls reporting shots fired at the same residence as the Sept. 1, 2019, incident. Responding officers observed numerous new bullet entry points on the exterior of the home and collected six expended .45 caliber shell casings and a .223 projectile, but were unable to locate any suspects.

One occupant of the home told officers he had been in a recent confrontation with an individual.  He identified the individual for the officer.  The information pointed officers to Peralta-Moran, a known Sureno-affiliated convicted felon. Peralta-Moran was on state probation and had an outstanding arrest warrant.

On Sept. 4, Sandy City police officers responded to a report of firearms thefts at The Amory Firearms and Shooting Range, a Federal Firearms Licensee. The manager told them three males entered the business and stole three handguns while he was speaking to another customer.  According to the store manager, the individuals took a Glock 17 handgun with a green slide  from behind the sales counter and a Glock 19 handgun from the manager’s office.  (Only two of the three stolen firearms are related to charges included in this case.) 

Viewing store surveillance video, officers observed the three males enter The Armory and go to different areas in the store.  The video shows them taking guns from behind the counter and from the store manager’s office.  The three left in a vehicle described by the store manager as a silver or blue Lexus with “In God We Trust” on the license plate.  The store manager was able to provide the officers with a partial plate number, according to the complaint.

UPD officers looking for Peralta-Moran on Sept. 5, 2019, observed a Lexus sedan similar to the description of the passenger car leaving the scene of the Sept. 3, 2019, drive-by shooting.  Officers executed a traffic stop.  According to the complaint, as the vehicle pulled into a residential driveway, officers heard the distinctive sound of a metal object hitting the pavement. 

Avila was driving the car and Peralta-Moran was a passenger in the front seat. Officers located a .45 Smith and Wesson handgun on the ground adjacent to the passenger side of the vehicle and found a Glock 17 handgun with a green slide under the front portion of the driver’s seat, similar in description to one of the guns stolen from The Armory. The license plate on the car matched the description given by the store manager.

According to the complaint, Peralta-Moran told officers he paid someone to shoot up the house on Sept. 3, 2019.  He also admitted the Lexus was used in the Sept. 3 shooting and the .45 Smith and Wesson officers found on the pavement on the passenger side of the Lexus was used in the drive-by shooting.  Officers executed a search warrant at Peralta-Moran’s residence and found a Glock 19 handgun concealed in his bed – one of the handguns stolen from The Armory.

Peralta-Moran is appearing Wednesday morning on the charges in the complaint.  A warrant is pending for Avila.  Both defendants face a potential 10-year statutory sentence, a fine of $250,000, and a three-year term of supervised release if convicted of the charges in the complaint. Defendants charged in complaints are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office are prosecuting the case.  Officers from the UPD and Sandy City Police Department and special agents from the ATF are investigating the case.  The Utah Crime Gun Intelligence Center is also contributing to the investigation.

Updated December 11, 2019

Firearms Offenses