Eagle Pass police officer pleads guilty to possession of stolen firearm

Eriberto Leija, 40, faces up to 10 years in prison, $250,000 fine

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An Eagle Pass police officer faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine after he pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon to one count of possession of a stolen firearm.

Appearing before a judge, Eriberto Leija, 40, admitted that on July 15, 2012, he possessed a stolen M1 .30 caliber rifle, which he claimed to have discovered while investigating a drive-by shooting in a vacant lot in Eagle Pass.

Leija also admitted to taking a picture of the rifle and then sending that picture to a co-worker in an attempt to sell the firearm for $500.

The Eagle Pass Police Department discovered that Leija was in possession of the weapon after he requested a firearms check to determine whether the rifle was stolen.  The check returned a positive hit.

During questioning by department personnel, Leija stated that he was not in possession of the firearm, that it was in Mexico, and that he had queried it as a favor to a Mexican Federal Police officer.

Police said Leija attempted to cover up the fact that he knowingly was in possession of a stolen firearm by soliciting a Mexico Federal Police officer to create a false document purporting to transfer the custody of the stolen firearm.

When confronted by authorities with the solicitation and photo he sent to his co-worker, Leija admitted that he lied about the scheme and that fact that the weapon had been in his possession the entire time.

Leija is currently on bond pending sentencing. A date for the sentencing had not been set.


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