GULFPORT -- A motorist stopped for driving erratically in Biloxi had a 9mm Ruger semi-automatic handgun and is suspected of being in the United States without permission.
A Mississippi Department of Marine Resources officer conducted a traffic stop Sept. 9 on a man who identified himself as Leo Morales, 41. The discovery of a handgun led to a state charge of possession of a stolen firearm, the Harrison County jail docket shows.
State law authorizes DMR officers to make arrests on land.
Further investigation revealed he is Leobardo Morales-Gonzalez, now held for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and for prosecution.
A federal grand jury indicted him Dec. 8 on an immigration and firearm violation punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The case was sealed until his initial court appearance Dec. 15, when Morales-Gonzalez pleaded not guilty.
U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden last week set a pre-trial hearing for Jan. 25.
He is set for trial on a court calendar that starts Jan. 4.