McALLEN – Yesterday, a San Juan man, who was identified as a supervisor in aiding and abetting the straw purchase of approximately 23 firearms, was sentenced to 120 months in prison, the maximum sentence under the law, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
Chief United States District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa sentenced Jesus Salinas, 26, of San Juan, to 120 months in federal prison following his conviction for making material false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms. Gammon Cole Perry, 24 of Seabrook, Texas; Anthony Villarreal, 24, and Michael Mims, 32, both of Edinburg, were also sentenced yesterday to 33, 21, and nine months imprisonment, respectively.
Salinas, Perry and Villarreal will serve a two-year-term of supervised release following their terms of imprisonment, while Mims will serve a three-year-term. Perry and Villarreal pleaded guilty in July 2010 to making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of firearms in violation ofTitle 18 United States Code Section 924(a)(1)(A).
Salinas and Mims pleaded guilty in a separate but related case to a violation of Title 18 United States Code Section 922(a)(6) for making material false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms.
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Investigators were present at a local gun store and witnessed Perry and Villarreal asking a federally licensed firearms dealer questions about the number of firearms they could purchase. DPS Investigators then followed Perry and Villarreal as they left the store. Shortly thereafter, ATF agents interviewed Perry and Villarreal who admitted that they had straw purchased numerous firearms for a person identified only as "Chuey."
Thereafter, a separate case was initiated after Mims was encountered and admitted to straw purchasing firearms for Salinas. Salinas was later encountered and interviewed after re-entering the United States. It was discovered that Salinas was a convicted felon, that he had recruited the other co-defendants and that there were additional persons who were also involved. Salinas admitted he recruited Perry and Villarreal and was the "Chuey" that Perry and Villarreal identified in their statements.
Salinas, Villarreal and Mims have been in custody where they will remain pending transfer to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future where they will serve their sentences. Perry, who had previously been released on bond, was permitted to remain on bond pending his surrender to a Bureau of Prisons facility in October 2011.
The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and DPS. The cases were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven Schammel.