Brownsville CBP Officer Arrested in Straw Purchasing Case

BROWNSVILLE–A Customs and Border Protection officer in Brownsville has been placed on administrative leave after he was charged in federal court with buying two weapons for a person who couldn’t.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer Manuel Eduardo Pena, 38, has been arrested and charged with straw purchasing firearms, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
 
Manuel Pena, of Brownsville, who is 38-year-old, was taken into custody last night and the criminal complaint was filed for straw purchasing of firearms Friday. 
 
He made an appearance before U.S. Magistrate Ronald G. Morgan this morning who ordered he be released upon posting a $50,000 bond.
 
An investigation by the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Office of Professional Responsibility (ICE-OPR) revealed the purchase of two firearms last December at the Academy Sports and Outdoors Store in Brownsville.
 
The firearms were allegedly purchased on behalf of an individual who did not have proper documentation to buy a gun on his own.
 
According to the complaint, Pena falsely swore on two occasions he was purchasing the guns as the actual buyer when in fact he was purchasing the gun for another individual.
 
Pena has been a CBP officer for 12 years. These charges are unrelated to his official duties.
 
His next appearance in federal court is set for May 31, 2012.
Pena faces a up to a five years in federal prison if convicted.
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