(STL.News) – Argel Hernandez-Escobar, 33, last residing in Memphis, was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison for one count of possessing a firearm as an illegal alien and one count of illegally re-entering the United States. D. Michael Dunavant, United States Attorney announced the sentence today.
According to the information presented in court, on Sunday, September 30, 2018, at approximately 3 p.m., Memphis Police officers responded to a 911 call from a woman who said her son had been accidentally shot by the son’s father (later identified as Mr. Hernandez-Escobar) at their residence in Memphis, Tennessee.
Responding officers found Hernandez-Escobar on the front porch with a gunshot wound to his leg. Officers also found a 3-year-old male victim on the porch with a gunshot wound to his chest. A Mini Draco 7.62X39mm caliber pistol and a high capacity magazine were located near the front porch. Officers determined that Hernandez-Escobar had accidentally shot himself in the leg and the bullet struck his 3-year-old son who was playing nearby.
The child was transported to LeBonheur but later succumbed to his injuries. Hernandez-Escobar was transported to Regional One Medical Center. Hernandez-Escobar later gave a statement and admitted to possessing the Draco firearm with 30 round clip on his lap and stated that it accidentally went off, hitting himself in the leg and also striking his son. He stated the reason he had his firearm outside on his porch was because he was concerned about some unknown individual walking up and down in front of his house. A witness stated that Hernandez-Escobar had been drinking alcohol prior to the shooting.
Further investigation revealed Hernandez-Escobar is a citizen of Mexico and he did not have lawful status to be or remain in the United States. Specifically, it was determined that Hernandez-Escobar had the following history:
• On October 15, 2009, he was apprehended by Border Patrol Agents and served with an order of Expedited Removal and removed to Mexico the same day
• On March 28, 2013, Hernandez-Escobar was apprehended by ICE agents in Memphis, and served a Notice of Intent to Reinstate Prior Order of Removal
• On April 13, 2013, he was again removed to Mexico
• On July 11, 2013, Hernandez-Escobar was apprehended by Border Patrol Agents in Texas and again served with a Notice of Intent to Reinstate Prior Order of Removal and other documents, which advised him that he was prohibited from entering or being in the United States for a period of 20 years
• On July 16, 2013, he was convicted of illegal entry in the Western District of Texas
• On August 9, 2013, he was again removed to Mexico
• On September 30, 2018, he was again found to be unlawfully present in the United States after deportation
A search of the relevant immigration records reflect that the defendant never obtained the consent or permission of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to reenter into the United States, and was therefore charged with violation of 8 U.S.C. 1326(a). As a result of his illegal alien status, Hernandez-Escobar is prohibited by federal law from possession of a firearm or ammunition, and was therefore charged with a violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(5). In May 2020, Hernandez-Escobar pled guilty as charged to the federal charges.
On October 23, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Jon P. McCalla sentenced Hernandez- Escobar to 60 months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system. Hernandez-Escobar awaits trial in Shelby County Criminal Court for state charges of Reckless Homicide and Aggravated Child Abuse. Following his ultimate release from federal and state custody, Hernandez-Escobar will again be subject to deportation and removal from the United States.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, “Criminal aliens not only threaten the sovereignty of our nation, but also threaten the safety of our communities. Keeping guns out of the hands of presumptively risky people who are difficult to track and who have an interest in eluding law enforcement serves the public safety objectives and Congressional intent of federal firearms laws. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has prioritized and renewed our commitment to immigration enforcement, and this case demonstrates our focus on those criminal aliens who continue to illegally reenter and violate our laws after deportation.
We will aggressively and unapologetically enforce U.S. immigration laws and federal firearms statutes, and seek stiff penalties against those who violate them.”
The Department of Homeland Security – Border Enforcement Security Task Force in conjunction with the Memphis Police Department investigated this case.