Ex-Tucson policeman gets prison for illegal firearms sales

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Joe Santiago Valles (Source: Tucson Police Department) Joe Santiago Valles (Source: Tucson Police Department)

A former Tucson police officer has been sentenced to 6 ½ years in federal prison for illegal firearms sales.

Prosecutors say 34-year-old Joe Santiago Valles previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States, aiding and abetting false statements in firearms transactions, tampering with a witness and identity theft.

Valles partnered with a federally-licensed firearms dealer who ran the business out of his home from October 2015 until April 2016.

Authorities say the two men sold weapons and took them into Mexico.

They allegedly used the identities of people who weren't purchasing firearms to submit forms claiming they were the buyers.

Prosecutors say the conspiracy involved 35 firearm transactions, including 24 semi-automatic pistols and rifles.

Valles was with the Tucson Police Department from 2012 through 2014 when he resigned.

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