HOUSTON - A 23-year-old Chinese national who resided in
La Marque has been ordered to federal prison after admitting to possessing a
firearm while being an illegal alien and aggravated identity theft, announced
U.S. Attorney Ryan K. 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 pleaded guilty Dec. 14, 2018.
Today, U.S. District Judge Gray Miller handed him a total
61-month sentence - 37 months for the firearms conviction and a mandatory and
consecutive 24 months for the identity theft. Not a U.S. citizen, he is
expected to face deportation proceedings following the sentence. At the
hearing, Judge Miller noted his concern with Zhang's actions and felt a prison
term at the higher end of the guidelines was appropriate.
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.
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
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
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
He has been and will remain in custody pending that
HSI and ATF conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S.
Attorney Alamdar Hamdani is prosecuting the case.