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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 9, 2014

San Antonio Gang Member Sentenced To 40 Years In Federal Prison For Drug And Firearms Violations

In San Antonio today, 25-year-old Arnoldo Lopez (a.k.a. “Looney”), a member of the Duffle Bag Mafia in San Antonio, was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for various drug and firearms offenses announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Robert Elder, Houston Division and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Janice Ayala, San Antonio Division.

United States District Judge Xavier Rodriguez sentenced Lopez to 35 years in prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute “crack” cocaine plus five additional years imprisonment for possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. In a separate, but related case, Judge Rodriguez sentenced Lopez to five years in prison on six separate charges of making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm. Judge Rodriguez ordered the prison terms assessed for each of the false statement charges to run concurrent with the drug and firearm prison terms.

On September 5, 2013, Lopez pleaded guilty to the above-mentioned charges. According to court records, on October 4, 2012, Lopez and others were apprehended by the San Antonio Police Department Gang Unit while in possession of distributable quantities of “crack” cocaine as well as four firearms including one assault rifle, two shotguns and a semi-automatic pistol. Prior to his arrest, HSI agents were investigating a firearms straw purchasing operation wherein Lopez directed other individuals to purchase dozens of firearms under false pretenses. The weapons purchased included AK-47 and AR-15 type assault rifles which were destined for the Los Zetas Cartel.

SAC Elder stated: “This investigation is an outstanding example of where cooperative efforts of ATF, HSI, and the San Antonio Police Department can lead. Anytime we get a criminal of this magnitude off the streets is a good day for our citizens.”

SAC Ayala stated: “Today's sentencing of Arnoldo Lopez sends a clear message that those who engage in
and/or facilitate the straw purchasing and smuggling of weaponry, and related items, will face serious
consequences. HSI, ATF, and our law enforcement partners are dedicated to making communities safer by bringing violent criminals to justice and preventing or seizing firearms before they fall into the hands of
transnational criminal organizations who pose a threat to public safety both here and abroad.”

On February 26, 2014, Lopez’ co-defendant, 31-year-old Michael Gutierrez, was sentenced to 248 months in federal prison for his role in the drug distribution scheme. Two other co-defendants in the drug distribution scheme are awaiting sentencing. Six co-defendants in the firearms straw purchasing scheme have been sentenced to terms ranging from three years probation to 57 months in federal prison.

These charges resulted from investigations conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations and the San Antonio Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Russell Leachman and Bettina Richardson prosecuted these cases on behalf of the Government.

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Updated December 15, 2014