CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX: (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Lawrence Hong, 21, of Canada, who was convicted of possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance, was sentenced to time served by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael P. Felicetta, who handled the case, stated that on January 21, 2017, the defendant presented himself for inspection as a non-immigrant visitor to the United States from Canada at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry. Hong was traveling alone in a 2016 Volkswagen that had an Ontario registration. The defendant told the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer performing the primary inspection that he was going to Buffalo to shop for a few hours at the mall and that he had nothing to declare. Despite his professed planned shopping trip, defendant had no explanation for the presence of his pet dog in the vehicle with him nor could the defendant provide details of what he intended to do with the dog while he was shopping.
Hong was referred for a secondary inspection during which a CBP officer ran a narcotics detection K-9 dog on the defendant’s vehicle. The officer opened the driver's side door of the vehicle and discovered a 9 mm handgun. During a full inspection the vehicle, $1,122.00 in cash as well as a piece of paper containing Xanax pills, hypodermic needles, and elastic bands were discovered.
Also during the secondary inspection, Hong told an officer that he was going to Ohio to purchase another firearm. The defendant also told the officer that the firearm discovered in his vehicle was previously purchased in the United States and illegally smuggled into Canada. Hong further admitted that he was a heroin addict who was undergoing methadone treatment.
The sentencing is the result of an investigation by Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Director of Field Operations Rose Brophy.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Western District of New York