Houston Man and Ringleader Sentenced to Federal Prison for Illegal Firearm Purchase and Trafficking

Houston Man and Ringleader Sentenced to Federal Prison for Illegal Firearm Purchase and Trafficking
Jose Abraham Nicanor (2016 booking photo)

A 34-year-old Houston resident, Jose Abraham Nicanor, has been sentenced to federal prison for his involvement in the illegal purchase and trafficking of firearms, as announced by U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Following a three-day trial, a federal jury convicted Nicanor on all 13 counts as charged on May 11. The charges included illegal firearm purchase and possession of a firearm after a previous felony for armed robbery.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt has ordered Nicanor to serve 60 months in federal prison. During the sentencing hearing, evidence was presented that demonstrated Nicanor’s role in aggregating firearms shipments to Mexico. The court emphasized that Nicanor’s actions were not mere mistakes but a pattern of choices to violate the law.

Acting Special Agent in Charge Noel Rangel of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) highlighted the serious nature of firearms trafficking and straw purchasing. Rangel emphasized that these illegal activities contribute to arming violent criminals and increase the risk of violent crime.

The trial revealed that Nicanor recruited two straw purchasers, James Paxton Jefferson, 34, and Alejandro Garcia, 33, both of Houston, to buy high-caliber rifles sought by drug trafficking organizations. In total, 94 firearms were linked to Nicanor’s straw purchasing group, with some weapons later recovered in the possession of Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

Additionally, the jury learned that Nicanor, a convicted felon, violated federal law by renting a machine gun at a local gun range and posting a video of himself with the firearm on social media.

While Nicanor has been permitted to remain on bond temporarily, he is expected to voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility in the near future.

The straw purchasers, James Paxton Jefferson and Alejandro Garcia, have previously pleaded guilty and received sentences for their involvement in the illegal firearm purchases.

What are straw purchasers

Straw purchasers are individuals who legally purchase firearms on behalf of someone who is either prohibited from buying firearms or wishes to remain anonymous. Essentially, a straw purchaser serves as an intermediary, acquiring firearms with the intention of transferring them to another individual who may have a criminal background, be barred from buying guns, or simply wants to avoid detection.