A federal jury last week found former Metro police officer Edwing Ronal Morales guilty of lying to a firearms dealer while attempting to buy guns.
The jury convicted Morales on Dec. 15 in U.S. District Court in Nashville on two counts of making false statement to a firearms dealer while attempting to buy handguns on two occasions in 2009.
Trial testimony revealed that Morales filled out a firearms transaction record stating that he was buying handguns for himself when he was actually buying them for friend and co-defendant Julio Rojas-Lopez, who prosecutors said was illegally transporting guns to Guatemala.
Morales attempted to buy the guns from Guns and Leather in Greenbrier in May and July of 2009. Morales had been an officer at the Metro Nashville Police Department since September 2007 before he was terminated in September 2009.
Morales is set to go before Chief U.S. District Judge Todd J. Campbell on April 11, 2011, for a sentencing hearing. Each of the violations carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Agents with both the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Philip H. Wehby and Mary Elizabeth McCullohs prosecuted the case.