Texas gun dealer gets prison for selling to illegal immigrant; Illegal ‘middle man’ not charged.

Gun rights advocates are up in arms that a Texas…

Gun rights advocates are up in arms that a Texas gun dealer was sentenced to six months in prison for selling a firearm to an illegal immigrant, but a “middle-man” who bought the gun for the immigrant — and who was in the U.S. illegally himself, but had a valid driver’s license — was never arrested, charged or deported in the case.

Paul Copeland, 56, a Vietnam veteran, was sentenced to prison time and two years probation in federal court last week for selling a gun to an undocumented alien, Hipolito Aviles, at the Texas Gun Show in Austin in January.

But Aviles wasn’t the man who handed Copeland the money for the gun. That man was Leonel Huerta Sr., who presented as identification the valid Texas driver’s license he had obtained before his visa expired in 2007.

Copeland claimed he was presented with a valid driver’s license and had no way of knowing that the man he was selling the gun to was an illegal immigrant, or that he intended to give the gun to another illegal immigrant.

Huerta, in a phone interview with Copeland’s attorney that was included in court documents, said he showed Copeland his driver’s license in order to purchase the gun, and it wasn’t until he was leaving the building that he handed the gun to Aviles.

But agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives testified that Copeland should have known that Huerta was buying the gun for Aviles.

“Agents witnessed the Defendant (Copeland) negotiate a price for a handgun with Hipolito Aviles, who then handed cash to a second Hispanic male, who then handed Aviles’ cash and his own identification to the defendant,” the prosecution said in court documents.

Source: Diane Macedo for Fox News.

Load Comments
  • Phil

    As a Canadian citizen living and working in the US legally (I have a work visa), I can tell you that a valid driver’s license is not sufficient to purchase a firearm in the US for a nonimmigrant alien. After 9/11, it was made illegal for anyone without a green card or US citizenship to purchase a firearm unless three conditions were met: 1- 90 days of continuous residency in the state where purchasing, 2- A visa showing you are legally in the US, 3- Are foreign LEO or diplomatic security on official business, or have valid hunting license (from any state) or proof of participation in a shooting event.

    This is federal law, not state law.