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02/13/2012

Illegal alien pleads guilty to firearm possession and false statement charges in connection with shooting of 2-year-old cousin

ORLANDO, Fla. — A Mexican citizen, illegally residing in Ocoee, Fla., pleaded guilty Monday to charges of possession of a firearm and ammunition by an illegal alien and making a false statement to a federal agency. The guilty plea resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Ocoee Police Department.

According to court documents, Ocoee police officers contacted Luis Javier Farias-Mendoza, 20, at Health Central Hospital on Dec. 26 when hospital personnel reported that a 2-year-old child had been admitted with a gunshot wound to the head. After being advised of his constitutional rights, Farias-Mendoza admitted that he was trying to put away his loaded .22 caliber pistol when it discharged through the wall of his bedroom. After hearing yelling in the adjacent bedroom, Farias-Mendoza set the pistol down and discovered that his 2-year-old cousin had been shot in the head. The child died from the injury. Authorities later recovered the loaded .22 caliber pistol that was in the home.

Upon further questioning, Farias-Mendoza admitted that he purchased the firearm a year earlier and had shot it as recently as Christmas Eve from a moving vehicle on local roadways. He also acknowledged that he is a Mexican citizen, illegally in the United States, which was confirmed. As an illegal alien, Farias-Mendoza is not permitted to possess a firearm or ammunition under federal law.

Authorities subsequently discovered that Farias-Mendoza also made false statements and presented fraudulent identity documents to obtain access to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla.

Farias-Mendoza faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison for the firearm charge and a maximum of five years for making a false statement. He will be deported from the United States following his prison term. A sentencing date has not yet been set.