Bond granted for Peñitas chief of staff
A Mission man could soon be released from federal custody after he was arrested on Tuesday and accused of lying on a federal form on two separate occasions.
A federal magistrate judge set Andres Morales’ bond at $75,000 Thursday with a $3,500 deposit that was received Friday, court records show.
Morales is employed by the city of Peñitas as its chief of staff. When reached for comment, City Manager Omar Romero directed all questions to City Attorney Jose L. Caso, who said Morales is not accused of any wrongdoing involving the city.
"Mr. Morales deserves a presumption of innocence as afforded by the legal system of the United States," Caso said. "Mr. Morales is a great employee of the City of Peñitas, and we look forward to his return to city duties so that he can continue helping the city to grow and prosper."
Morales was arrested in connection with a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigation that reviewed ATF forms executed by Morales in connection with the purchases of two firearms that were made in 2017.
During each purchase, Morales answered “no” when he was asked if he had ever been convicted in any court of a felony.
“On Sept. 1, 2006, Morales was convicted of possession of marijuana,” the criminal complaint against Morales said. “As a result of the conviction, Morales was sentenced to five years imprisonment, which was probated for a period of five years.”
The criminal complaint did not say why the ATF was investigating Morales.
Court records show that as of Friday, Morales was in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service until the paperwork of his release have been processed.