Man sentenced to time served in straw purchase case

MGN Online

McALLEN — A Mexican citizen received a sentence of time-served in relation to federal firearm charges, records show.

U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez handed down the sentence Thursday during the sentencing hearing for Jose Ventura De Leon-Fuentes.

De Leon-Fuentes, 45, was accused of paying another man, Oscar Antonio Flores-Arriaga, a U.S. citizen, to buy firearms for him, despite not being legally eligible to obtain them himself, the complaint against the two men states.

According to the complaint, on Oct. 9, 2019, Flores-Arriaga, 36, purchased a pistol and rifle at a federally licensed gun store on behalf of De Leon-Fuentes, a Mexican citizen who could not legally purchase the firearms himself.

On that date, Homeland Securities Investigation agents watched as the two men exited a gun shop together.

“ Agents observed Flores-Arriaga and De Leon-Fuentes walking out of the FFL with a brown paper bag and one rifle cardboard box,” the document states. “Agents observed De Leon-Fuentes enter the driver’s seat and Flores-Arriaga enter the front passenger seat of a Mexican plated vehicle.”

A short while later, the men arrived at a residence in Mission where HSI agents approached the men about the recent firearms purchase.

During separate interviews, the men admitted to the scheme to purchase the firearms.

“ (A) post Miranda interview of Flores-Arriaga revealed that Flores-Arriaga was recruited by De Leon-Fuentes to purchase a Browning .380 pistol and one Browning .270 caliber bolt action rifle for De Leon-Fuentes,” the document states.

Flores-Arriaga told agents he was paid $200 for the purchase of the two firearms.

“ Flores-Arriaga admitted to making a false statement on ATF Form 4473 when he indicated that he was the actual purchaser, when in fact, he was purchasing the firearms for De Leon-Fuentes,” the court document states.

De Leon-Fuentes, admitted he knew that as a Mexican citizen, he was not legally allowed to purchase firearms and that he had paid Flores-Arriaga to purchase the firearms for him so they could both go hunting later, the record shows.

Flores-Arriaga, of Pharr, pleaded not guilty to the charges Nov. 14, but failed to appear for a Dec. 30, 2019 hearing, records show.

A warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest, the court notes show.

lzazueta@themonitor.com