Ocala, FL – Jose Merced Sanchez De La Torre (43) has pleaded guilty to illegal re-entry by a previously deported alien and unlawful possession of a firearm. He faces up to 30 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to court documents, on August 31, 2020, the FBI received a tip that a residence in Ocala contained illegal aliens and firearms. The FBI requested the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP researched the address and determined that one of the residents, Sanchez De La Torre, was an illegal alien from Mexico who had previously been deported from the United States in 2015, following federal convictions for an aggravated felony—unlawful possession of a firearm—and seven counts of structuring financial transactions. On September 8, 2020, Border Patrol agents, with help from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), executed an arrest warrant at the residence. During a search of the residence, three firearms were located, including an AK-47 along with a large amount of ammunition. As both an illegal alien and a convicted felon, Sanchez De La Torre is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.
This case was investigated by the FBI, CBP, ATF, and the MCSO. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tyrie Boyer.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence and enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes. For more information on Project Guardian visit www.justice.gov/projectguardian.