Joint ICE HSI, and federal partners assisted investigation results in the sentencing of a South Texas man for his straw purchase scheme
SAN ANTONIO – A south Texas man was sentenced Monday to more than seven years in prison for aiding and abetting false statements in connection with firearm purchases following investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) with assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Charles Anthony Lecara, aka “Eric,” “Bloodhound,” 43, of San Antonio was sentenced May 2 by a federal judge to serve 87 months n federal prison. On Jan. 13,Lecara pleaded guilty to three counts of aiding and abetting false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms.
“This case illustrates why our office and law enforcement partners are committed to prosecuting those who violate federal firearms laws,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff. “Lying and buying schemes such as this endanger the public and offenders who sign on the dotted line should expect to do hard time.”
“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has no greater mission than keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals. This case not only demonstrates the lengths to which criminals will go to acquire firearms, but more importantly, ATF’s expertise and commitment to investigating such violations of federal law,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski. “In partnership with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the United States Attorney’s Office, we will continue to work tirelessly to bring those who disregard the safety of our communities to justice.”
According to court documents, between March and June 2018, Lecara conspired with others to purchase firearms by making false statements and representations to firearm dealers. The coconspirators acted as straw purchasers, claiming the guns were purchased by them for their use. However, Lecara directed the conspirators on which firearms to purchase, focusing on firearms popular with Mexican cartels, and took possession of them shortly after they were purchased. In August 2018, numerous firearms purchased on Lecara’s behalf were recovered in a stash location in San Antonio along with a significant amount of crystal methamphetamine.
Lecara remains in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons Facility to be determined in the near future.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph Lo Galbo, Eric Yuen and Karina O’Daniel, Western District of Texas, prosecuted the case.
HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 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 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 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.