(STL.News) – United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced today that Erick Bautista Irias-Zepeda, 22, a citizen of Honduras, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael J. Juneau to serve 12 months in federal prison for being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm. Irias-Zepeda pled guilty on January 16, 2020. Following his release from prison, Irias-Zepeda will be subject to deportation proceedings.
Irias-Zepeda was indicted in November 2019 with one count of possession of a firearm by an illegal alien. The charge stemmed from his August 9, 2019, arrest by Lafayette Police Department officers, following a stop of the vehicle in which Irias-Zepeda was a passenger. Officers found a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun, 12 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition, and approximately one gram of marijuana on the passenger floorboard inside the vehicle. Irias-Zepeda stated that he had purchased the firearm three weeks earlier for $200, admitted that he was illegally present in the United States, and that he knew he was not allowed to possess a firearm.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Lafayette Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Ayo prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative. PSN is a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. PSN plays a major role in the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction strategy. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.