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Terry Goddard Announces Prison Terms in Hand Grenade Case

(Phoenix, Ariz. – April 8, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard announced that Fernando Calderon-Suazo, 34, and Alberto Prieto-Molina, 24, both of Phoenix, received prison sentences today in Maricopa County Superior Court for the illegal sale of hand grenades and a rifle.

According to court documents, Calderon-Suazo and Prieto-Molina engaged in discussions and negotiations last November with an undercover agent from the Attorney General’s Office. The agent posed as an arms buyer for the Mexican drug cartels and purchased 23 hand grenades and one rifle for $8,740.

The hand grenades had the appearance of being fully operational, but it was later determined by the Department of Public Safety’s explosives experts that the grenades had been rendered inoperable. DPS noted, however, that this was not readily apparent to the untrained eye and the grenades, as presented, appeared fully functioning.

“This case further demonstrates the importance of securing our borders against the drug cartels,” Goddard stated. “These individuals were attempting to profit from border violence and that is not tolerable.  Our office will continue to aggressively prosecute these types of cases.”

Prieto-Molina was sentenced to two years in prison for attempted misconduct involving weapons, a class 5 felony. This term will be followed by three years of supervised probation. 

Calderon-Suazo was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for misconduct involving weapons, a class 4 felony. This term will be followed by three years of supervised probation.

A third defendant, Jesus Rodriguez-Avena, 19, of Phoenix has been placed on supervised probation for his lesser role in these crimes. 

Each defendant has been ordered to pay restitution to DPS in the amount of $8,740 to cover the money spent purchasing the weapons.  Additionally, each defendant has been ordered to pay $1,000 to the Anti-Racketeering Revolving Fund.  

Assistant Attorney General Michael Flynn prosecuted this case in Maricopa County Superior Court.  For more information, contact Molly Edwards at 602-542-8019.

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