A Mexican citizen living in Panama City was sentenced to 35 years in prison in a Tallahassee courtroom on Wednesday on gun and drug trafficking charges.
According to a news release from the office of Jason R. Coody, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, Jesus Lopez-Garza, 37, was sentenced on charges of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and marijuana, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offense, being an alien in the United States after a prior removal and possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon and illegal alien.
“Drugs and a weapon in the hands of a convicted felon is a threatening and potentially deadly combination,” Coody said in the news release. “The United States Attorney’s Office and our federal and local law enforcement partners are dedicated to making sure such criminals are punished appropriately.”
Lopez-Garza came to the attention of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in April 2021 as an individual involved in armed narcotics trafficking.
After determining Lopez-Garza was at a hotel in Panama City, search warrants were executed by ATF special agents and investigators with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office. During the search, law enforcement discovered 10.7 pounds of methamphetamine, 12.4 pounds of marijuana, a quarter kilogram of para-fluorofentanyl, and more than $30,000 in cash, along with a firearm and ammunition.
During the investigation, It was determined by Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, that Lopez-Garza is a citizen of Mexico and had no lawful immigration status in the United States, the release states.
“Convicted felons and individuals illegally in the United States in possession of firearms in ammunition is illegal. When these prohibited individuals possess and use firearms in furtherance of their drug trafficking activities, it poses a serious threat to the safety of our communities,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Craig W. Saier. “This sentencing is another example that working jointly with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners makes our streets safer.”
Source: News Herald