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November 1, 2022Tucson, AZ, United StatesFirearms, Ammunition and Explosives

HSI Tucson, multiagency investigation resulted in 12 people charged with firearms trafficking

TUCSON, Ariz. – On Sept. 21, a Tucson federal grand jury returned an indictment charging 49 firearms-related offenses against 12 people following a multiagency investigation, which included the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.

The following individuals were indicted:

  • Victor Coronado
  • Fernando Palomares, Jr.
  • Julissa Leonor Torres
  • Carlos Fernando Palomares-Leon
  • Briana Marie Montpetit
  • Karla Romero
  • Avery Danelle Gipson
  • Kevin Allen Lapedus
  • Ray Alberto Laborin
  • Elizar Olivares
  • Kyle Rene Fazlollah
  • Ty-Jhai Damon Grigsby

The indictment alleges that the 12 individuals were members of a Tucson-based firearms trafficking organization. The investigation leading to their indictment involved a series of firearms transactions that resulted in several firearms being seized in the Republic of Mexico.

An indictment is simply a method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

All 12 individuals charged in the indictment face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela W. Woolridge, District of Arizona, Tucson, is handling the prosecution.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Updated: 11/01/2022