Crime

Missing deported man found on Facebook with rifle going to prison

Carlos Efrain Chavez-Alas
Carlos Efrain Chavez-Alas

GULFPORT -- A deported man who disappeared had fled from his home country of El Salvador because he was a victim of assault and gang violence there, his attorney said.

Carlos Efrain Chavez-Alas, 27, was sentenced to a 13-month prison term Tuesday for having a firearm while being in the United States without permission.

After his time is served, he will be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for removal proceedings, attorney Ramiro "Remy" Orozco said.

U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden sentenced Chavez on a guilty plea Tuesday. The crime is possession of a firearm by an immigrant found in the U.S. without authorization.

Chavez had been free on bond while appealing an immigration judge's deportation order signed May 7, 2013.

He had fled El Salvador to Gulfport, where he has lived since 2009, Orozco said.

Chavez has a 6-year-old daughter. The child's mother is his girlfriend and is a U.S. citizen, he said. Chavez had been working as an auto mechanic and a day laborer.

Federal agents in Gulfport have said they found him on Facebook and saw pictures of him with a shotgun.

He was living on 29th Street and had created two Facebook pages, including one in a vanity name, a court document said. The page with his vanity name showed pictures of him fishing, working, spending time with his family, and shooting a rifle in a field.

His other Facebook page, an agent said, showed him with a picture of a Gulfport traffic citation and pictures of himself holding and shooting a 410-gauge shotgun.

Chavez had bought the firearm for self-defense, his attorney said.

Chavez was arrested Jan. 4 in a search of his home by agents with Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

"By bringing the equities of Mr. Chaves' case to light, we negotiated his 10-year maximum sentence to 13 months," Orozco said.

"Still, this serves as a harsh reminder that individuals without lawful status in the United States are not permitted to possess firearms," Orozco said.

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