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Case Number: 22-cr-02127
Court: United States District Court for the District of Arizona (Pima County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Tucson
Description: Tucson, Arizona criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with possession of firearms and ammunition knowing that he was an undocumented non-citizen illegally and unlawfully in the United States.
On September 9, 2022, Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle in which Esteban Gonzalez-Melendez, 26, of Mexico, was a passenger. One of the officers observed the muzzle of a rifle on the passenger floorboard protruding from under a blanket covering Gonzalez-Melendez. A search of the vehicle revealed a semiautomatic AR-15 pistol with large capacity magazine capabilities, along with a 9mm pistol and .380 pistol where Gonzalez-Melendez was seated. The search further revealed a two-way radio, a 30-round AR-15 magazine, a 100-round AR-15 drum magazine, two .380 magazines, a 9mm magazine, 12 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 14 rounds of .380 ammunition, 92 rounds of 5.56x45 NATO ammunition, and a pair of handcuffs.
United States Border Patrol agents, who were called by DPS, determined that Gonzalez-Melendez was illegally present in the United States. Gonzalez-Melendez stated he knew it was illegal for him to possess a firearm and indicated he had purchased two of the weapons in Phoenix, and a friend gave him the third gun “to hold.”
Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border Protection’s United States Border Patrol conducted the investigation in this case. Assistant United States Attorney Brandon Bolling, United States Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution.
Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 30 months in prison.