SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On January 25, 2021, a United States Magistrate Judge authorized a criminal complaint against Héctor M. Morales-Hernández, charging him with possession of a firearm and ammunition by a person subject to a domestic violence protective order, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is in charge of the investigation of the case, with the collaboration of the Puerto Rico Police Bureau (PRPB).
According to the charging document, on January 23, 2021, the PRPB stopped a car in Carolina making an illegal U-turn and driven by Morales-Hernández. Agents stopped the car and perceived a strong marihuana odor, and observed one rifle round in the front passenger seat. A minor was sitting behind the front passenger seat. Also in the car was a Romarm/Cugir rifle, model Mini Draco, 7.62 caliber, loaded with 31 rounds of ammunition.
Upon investigation, the agents learned that Morales-Hernández is the subject of a domestic violence protective order issued by a Puerto Rico court. The terms of the protective order prohibit Morales-Hernández from possessing a firearm.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Juan C. Reyes and Jonathan L. Gottfried, Chief of the Violent Crimes and National Security Section, are in charge of the prosecution of the case. If convicted, the defendant faces up to 10 years in prison.
This case is the result of the partnership for domestic violence gun prosecutions announced by the United States Department of Justice on September 30, 2020. This initiative combats domestic violence with the intent to prevent harm and loss of life before they occur. Working with federal, state, and local law enforcement and nonprofit entities, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is making the investigation and prosecution of federal domestic violence crimes a priority. In particular, we recognize the collaboration of the Puerto Rico Department of Justice, the Puerto Rico Police Bureau, and the Puerto Rico Courts Administration.
Criminal complaints contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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