Jury convicts Brownsville customs officer in gun-buying scheme

Manuel Eduardo Peña // File Photo

A trial for a Brownsville customs officer ended with a jury finding him guilty of buying guns for other people.

The four-day trial ended Monday morning when the jury for 38-year-old Manuel Eduardo Pea reached their verdict.

The jury found Pea guilty of two counts of making a false statement in a firearms records and one count of making a false statement to a federal agency.

Pea bought guns at local sporting goods stores for people other than himself, which is a federal crime.

The U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officer claimed the weapons were a "communal purchase" for a deer hunting club between him and his friends.

Federal prosecutors reported that Pea has been a CBP officer for 12 years and that the charges were not related to his duties.

Pea remains free on bond but is expected to appear for sentencing before U.S. District Court Judge Hilda G. Tagle on November 19th.

The customs officer faces up to five years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine on each count.