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Transnational Gangs
04/30/2012

Fresno gang member pleads guilty to federal firearms charge

FRESNO, Calif. — A Fresno man with ties to a local street gang has pleaded guilty to charges of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.

Hector Gonzalez, 19, appeared in court Tuesday to answer to the charge stemming from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Fresno Police Department.

According to court documents, on Dec. 10, 2011, Gonzalez was a passenger in a car that was the subject of a traffic stop by the Fresno Police Department. An officer discovered a .22-caliber gun on Gonzalez during a pat-down search. Gonzalez admitted that he was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and had not pursued citizenship in the United States. Gonzalez also admitted he has been affiliated with the East Side Bulldogs since he was 15 years old.

"For criminal street gangs, weapons are the tools of the trade. Taking gang members and their guns off the street makes our community safer," said Clark Settles, the special agent in charge who oversees HSI Fresno. "Homeland Security Investigations will continue to work closely with its federal, state and local law enforcement partners to disarm and dismantle these organizations that are spreading crime and violence through our neighborhoods."

"ATF is committed to preventing violent crime and pursuing criminals who unlawfully possess firearms and are members of a gang," said Stephen C. Herkins, special agent in charge for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. "Too often, guns and gangs are a deadly combination."

Gonzalez is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill July 9. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Sanchez is prosecuting the case.