Father and son plead guilty to attempted trafficking of guns to Mexico

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

GAINESVILLE, Ga. – Othon Marban, Sr., and Othon Marban, Jr., have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transfer firearms to an out-of-state resident and making false statements to a federally licensed firearms dealer, in connection with their attempted trafficking of approximately 50 guns to Mexico.                                           

“The defendants’ thwarted attempt to traffic guns to Mexico highlights the determination of our office and our law enforcement partners to stop the illegal gun trade both within and outside our district,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “I commend our federal, state and local law enforcement for remaining vigilant and protecting our communities.”

“Stopping the trafficking of illegal guns saves lives and reduces crime, I’m pleased that we were able to stop this scheme to illegally export guns to Mexico,” said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “Cases like this highlight the great results that can be achieved when agencies work together to protect our communities here and abroad.”

“This case is a perfect example of how our agencies work in concert to keep our communities safe,” said Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch. “I applaud our deputies for being alert as they were patrolling I-985, which is the busiest primary corridor in our county. They saw a problem with a basic traffic violation and pulled over the offender. As a result, we were able to get dozens of illegal weapons off our streets. I’m proud of everyone involved.”

According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court: On the morning of December 3, 2021, Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputies stopped a truck travelling on I-985 South for traffic violations. Investigators recovered 51 guns wrapped in cellophane during a search of the vehicle. Marban, Sr. and Marban, Jr. admitted that they were en route to Mexico with the firearms. Further investigation of the defendants revealed that they previously purchased additional guns and that they traveled to Mexico earlier in 2021.

Othon Marban, Sr., 56, of Gainesville, Georgia, pleaded guilty on May 9, 2022, and Othon Marban, Jr., 20, also of Gainesville, Georgia, pleaded guilty on May 16, 2022.  Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.  

This case is being investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Keen is prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). In keeping with the Attorney General’s mission to reduce violent crime, the Northern District of Georgia’s PSN program focuses on prosecuting those individuals who most significantly drive violence in our communities, and supports and fosters partnerships between law enforcement and schools, the faith community, and local community leaders to prevent and deter future criminal conduct.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.