A federal judge sentenced a 26-year-old Hanford man to prison on Monday, acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said in a news release.
Jose Moreno received a 37-month term from U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd. Moreno pleaded guilty in August to making and selling a machine gun.
According to court documents, Moreno sold a machine gun in a parking lot in Hanford on May 22, 2019. Shortly after the meeting, the buyer departed in his car and law enforcement officers conducted a traffic stop. Officers found a fully automatic handgun with two 16-round magazines.
Wiretap Uncovered Moreno’s Operation
Investigators said that a wiretap investigation into the Nuestra Familia Prison Gang in Kings and Tulare counties led them to Moreno. The probe revealed that Moreno was trafficking machine guns to gang members.
A federal grand jury indicted Moreno’s co‑defendant, Eric Lopez Mercado, 27, of Lemoore, in November 2019. Charges are pending against Mercado.
The Investigators and Prosecutors
This case resulted from an investigation by the FBI, ATF, the Kings County Gang Task Force, the state DOJ’s Special Operations Unit, the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the Kings County DA’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin J. Gilio, Katherine E. Schuh, and Kimberly A. Sanchez are prosecuting the case.