U.S. District Judge Carlos E. Mendoza recently sentenced Anthony Kenty Soto-Lopes (age 39 of Orlando) to 11 years and 3 months in federal prison for aiding and abetting the making of a false statement to a licensed firearms dealer, and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office based in Orlando said.
In January 2020, Judge Mendoza had sentenced Soto-Lopes’ three co-defendants to federal prison terms: Misael Adorno-Ortega (25 of Orange City) to seven years for aiding and abetting the making of a false statement to a licensed firearms dealer, and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon; Ivan Jomar Melendez-Ortiz (24 of Orlando) to 37 months for making a false statement to a licensed firearms dealer; and Jose Gonzalez-Rodriguez (34 of Davenport) to eight months for making false statements to a licensed firearms dealer.
All four men had previously pleaded guilty to the charges, the spokesman said.
According to court documents, in October 2018, Soto-Lopes and Adorno-Ortega agreed to acquire firearms and ship them to purchasers in Puerto Rico. As previously convicted felons, Soto-Lopes and Adorno-Ortega could not purchase the firearms themselves. They recruited straw purchasers, including Melendez-Ortiz and Gonzalez-Rodriguez, to purchase firearms for them.
Between October 2018 and June 2019, Soto-Lopes and Adorno-Ortega had the straw purchasers buy approximately 49 firearms from various firearms dealers in Central Florida by claiming that the weapons were for personal use, and not for Soto-Lopes and Adorno-Ortega.
Soto-Lopes and Adorno-Ortega then shipped the firearms to purchasers in Puerto Rico. Many of the firearms were AK-style firearms with high-capacity magazines, the spokesman said.