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Illegal alien from China sentenced in Houston to more than 5 years in federal prison for gun, identity theft convictions after threatening to shoot children


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Illegal alien from China sentenced in Houston to more than 5 years in federal prison for gun, identity theft convictions after threatening to shoot children

HOUSTON — A 23-year-old illegal alien from China – who threatened to shoot school children while he was in an internet chat session in July 2018 – was sentenced Thursday to more than five years in federal prison for possessing a firearm as an illegal alien, and aggravated identity theft.

This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Xiangyu Zhang, an illegal alien from China residing in La Marque, Texas, was sentenced to 61 months in federal prison on March 14; he received 37 months for the firearms conviction, and a mandatory consecutive 24 months for identity theft. Zhang pleaded guilty to both charges on Dec. 14, 2018.

Zhang illegally remained in the United States two years after his temporary visa expired.

Zhang first came to the attention of law enforcement in July 2018 when – during an internet chat session on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Crisis Line – he threatened to use firearms to kill school children. Despite him using the VA chat line, Zhang is a not a U.S. veteran. 


    
   
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Law enforcement arrested Zhang at a gas station near his residence July 10, 2018. At that time, he was sitting in a vehicle with two loaded firearms, including an AM-15 rifle. Both firearms had rounds in the chamber ready to fire.

Following Zhang's arrest, law enforcement found a passport belonging to a woman who lived in the Dallas, Texas, area. Zhang had stolen the woman's purse containing the passport in August 2017 after he served as her Uber driver. Within hours of stealing her purse, Zhang attempted to purchase several high-end items online from Apple using the woman's identity without her permission.

Law enforcement also found a picture of a fake U.S. passport page with Zhang's picture and the woman's passport number on Zhang's phone.          

A few months after stealing the purse, Zhang also defrauded Bank of America in March 2018 for more than $11,000. In late June 2018, and a few days before making the threats on the VA chat line, Zhang stole an IRS refund check from his neighbor's mailbox and deposited it into his bank account.

Zhang remains in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prison correctional facility.

After he completes his prison sentence, Zhang will be transferred to ICE custody and placed in removal proceedings.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alamdar Hamdani, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.



Source: https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/illegal-alien-china-sentenced-houston-more-5-years-federal-prison-gun-identity-theft




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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 14, 2018

Chinese National Who Threatened to Shoot School Children Pleads Guilty to Gun and ID Theft Charges

HOUSTON - A 22-year-old Chinese national who resided in La Marque has admitted to possessing a firearm while being an illegal alien and to aggravated identity theft, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick along with Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Mark Dawson and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski.

Xiangyu Zhang remained in the United States two years after his visa expired. He came to law enforcement’s attention in July 2018 when he entered an internet chat session on the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Crisis Line and threated to kill school children by using firearms. Zhang is a not a U.S. veteran. 

“We believed that this individual presented a real danger to the community based on the threats that he made to the Veteran’s Crisis Hotline,” said Dawson. “Within days of being alerted to those threats, our special agents were able to conduct their investigation, secure an arrest warrant and locate and arrest the subject before he had the opportunity to harm anyone.”




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Law enforcement arrested him at a gas station located close to his residence. At that time, he was sitting in a vehicle in possession of two firearms, including an AM-15 rifle. Both firearms had rounds in the chamber.  

“Holding people responsible for unlawfully being in possession of firearms and fighting violent crime remains at the forefront of the ATF mission,” said Milanowski. “Working with our partners at HSI to become a force multiplier will ensure our community is safe.”

Upon Zhang’s arrest, law enforcement also found a passport belonging to a woman who lived in the Dallas area. Zhang had stolen the woman’s purse containing the passport in August 2017 after he served as her Uber driver. Within hours of stealing her purse, Zhang, while using the woman’s identity without her permission, attempted to purchase several high end items online from Apple.  

Law enforcement also found a picture of a fake U.S. passport page with Zhang’s picture and the woman’s passport number on Zhang’s phone. 


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A few months after stealing the purse, Zhang defrauded Bank of America in March 2018 for more than $11,000. In late June 2018, and a few days before making those threats on the VA chat line, Zhang stole an IRS refund check from his neighbor’s mailbox and deposited it into his bank account. 

U.S. District Judge Gray Miller accepted Zhang’s pleas today and set sentencing for March 19, 2019. At that time, he faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a maximum $250,000 fine for the firearm possession charge. He also faces a mandatory two years for the identity theft which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed.

He has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.

HSI and ATF conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alamdar Hamdani is prosecuting the case.



12/17/2018

Illegal alien from China who threatened to kill school children pleads guilty in Houston to gun charges, identity theft

HOUSTON — An illegal alien from China pleaded guilty Friday to possessing a firearm as an illegal alien and to aggravated identity theft.

This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Xiangyu Zhang, 22, a resident of La Marque, Texas, illegally remained in the United States two years after his temporary visa expired. He came to law enforcement’s attention in July 2018 when he threatened to use firearms to kill school children during an internet chat session on the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Crisis Line. Zhang is a not a U.S. veteran.

“We believed that Zhang presented a real danger to the community based on the threats that he made on the Veteran’s Crisis Hotline,” said Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Mark Dawson, HSI Houston. “Shortly after being alerted to those threats, our special agents conducted their investigation, secured an arrest warrant, and located and arrested Zhang before he had the opportunity to harm anyone.”

Law enforcement arrested Zhang at a gas station close to his residence. At that time, he was sitting in a vehicle with two loaded and ready-to-fire firearms, including an AM-15 rifle. 






“Holding people responsible for unlawfully being in possession of firearms and fighting violent crime remains at the forefront of the ATF mission,” said SAC Fred Milanowski, ATF. “Working with our partners at HSI to become a force multiplier will ensure our community is safe.”

Upon Zhang’s arrest, law enforcement also found a passport belonging to a woman who lived in the Dallas area. Zhang had stolen the woman’s purse containing the passport in August 2017 after he served as her Uber driver. Within hours of stealing her purse, Zhang, while using the woman’s identity without her permission, attempted to purchase several high-end items online from Apple.

Law enforcement also found a picture of a fake U.S. passport page with Zhang’s picture and the woman’s passport number on Zhang’s phone.

A few months after stealing the purse, Zhang defrauded Bank of America in March 2018 for more than $11,000. In late June 2018, and a few days before making those threats on the VA chat line, Zhang stole an IRS refund check from his neighbor’s mailbox and deposited it into his bank account.

U.S. District Judge Gray Miller accepted Zhang’s pleas Dec. 17 and set sentencing for March 19, 2019. At that time, he faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a maximum $250,000 fine for the firearm possession conviction. He also faces a mandatory two years for the identity theft conviction, which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed. Zhang remains in custody pending that hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alamdar Hamdani, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/17/2018

















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