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Machine Gun Sale Sends Hanford Man to Federal Lockup



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Jose Moreno, 26, of Hanford, received a 37-month term from U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd on Monday. (Shutterstock)
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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.


Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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