Longtime Hidalgo County law enforcement officer indicted for illegal gun sales 

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Federal authorities indicted a former law enforcement officer for allegedly selling weapons illegally while managing a McAllen gun store, KRGV reported.

An indictment released last week alleged that Jose Cruz sold 38 rifles and one pistol between April 2018 and November 2019 at Gun Rack in McAllen without keeping required federal records for those sales. He is charged with failure to keep proper records and one count of smuggling goods from the United States because six of the rifles were taken out of the country.

The TV station reported that the federal complaint states that Cruz admitted to falsely adding the purchase of a second weapon to a customer’s ATF Form in at least one instance, actually selling the weapon to another customer.

Cruz faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the records charge and up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the smuggling charge. 

He pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday morning.

KRGV reported he was arrested by agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in December.

According to the TV report, Texas Commission on Law Enforcement records show that Cruz began his 22-year career with the Hidalgo County Precinct 3 Constable’s Office in 1993. He spent 10 years as an officer with the Mission Police Department and most recently worked as a reserve deputy for Hidalgo County Precinct 3.

Larry Gallardo, constable of that district, told KRGV he fired Cruz from his post after hearing of the ATF investigation last month.

“As soon as we got information that he may be investigated for possibly the firearms trade, or something, we immediately terminated him as our reserve deputy,” Gallardo told the TV station. 

KRGV reported that Gun Rack had closed and the signage had been removed from the building.

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