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Weslaco News

Weslaco Man Pleads Guilty to Straw Purchasing Firearms and Possessing Child Pornography

In Weslaco, a 36-year-old man, Jose Angel Hinojosa Jr., has pleaded guilty to charges of straw purchasing firearms and possessing child pornography on his cellphone. The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Between June 5, 2016, and May 9, 2022, Hinojosa engaged in firearms dealing by straw purchasing weapons from an online gun broker and arranging for their export to Mexico. Law enforcement traced several weapons back to Hinojosa during their investigation.

As part of his guilty plea, Hinojosa confessed to attempting to smuggle over 40 firearms. During the firearms investigation, authorities uncovered potential crimes involving child pornography. Search warrants were executed, revealing videos on Hinojosa's phone depicting minors engaged in sexual conduct. Hinojosa admitted to receiving such content from various third parties.

U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey accepted Hinojosa's plea, setting the sentencing for April 24. If convicted, Hinojosa could face up to 20 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. He is currently permitted to remain on bond until the sentencing.

“Hinojosa not only illegally possessed dozens of firearms, with plans to send them to Mexico, he also possessed videos of children engaged in sexual conduct,” said Hamdani. “This case is an example of the multitude of crimes the Southern District’s prosecutors fight on a daily basis, and whether its transporting firearms or possessing child pornography, this office will seek to hold those like Hinojosa accountable.”

The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in collaboration with Homeland Security Investigations - Child Exploitation Task Force.

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