Ex-felon found with assault rifle, pistol, pleads guilty

Records: Man had 2 firearms, more than 180 rounds of ammo

McALLEN — An investigation into human smuggling led federal agents to a convicted felon in possession of multiple firearms and nearly 200 rounds of ammunition.

On Monday, that man, Orlando Garza-Garcia pleaded guilty to one count of smuggling goods related to his arrest last October, records show.

In early October, U.S. Border Patrol agents, during the course of an investigation into potential human smuggling, were conducting surveillance on Garza at his residence in Roma.

“It was later determined that Garza was a convicted felon and had an active arrest warrant out of Starr County Sheriff’s Office for failure to appear and possession of a controlled substance. Subsequently Roma (Police) officers, assisted by (Border Patrol) agents, placed Garza under arrest,” the criminal complaint against Garza stated.

Later, Border Patrol agents, along with Roma police officers, “conducted a consensual search,” of Garza’s residence; which was suspected of being used as a stash house, the document stated.

During the search, agents with Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives discovered multiple rounds of assorted ammunition and the following firearms: a DPMS A-15, an assault-rifle style weapon, and a Regent BR9, 9mm pistol, the document shows.

All of the aforementioned items were found in Garza’s bedroom, according to the affiant in the complaint.

After a search of Garza’s criminal history, they determined Garza was convicted of a felony possession charge in September 2007 out of the 229th state District Court in Starr County, public records show.

The 24-year-old Roma man, who has been in custody since his arrest in October, will appear before the court June 8 for his sentencing hearing, where he faces between five and 10 years in prison.

Weapons and ammunition, like the ones involved in this case, purchased legally and illegally in the U.S., are often smuggled into Mexico and end up in the hands of criminals, exacerbating the violence perpetrated by drug cartel organizations as a result of the drug trade.