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News / Clark County News

Vancouver man sentenced to 2½ years in federal prison for illegally buying guns, claiming to be a citizen

Man was barred from having guns after domestic violence assault conviction

By Dylan Jefferies, Columbian staff writer
Published: May 17, 2024, 4:58pm

A Vancouver man was sentenced Friday to 30 months in federal prison for illegally possessing firearms, lying in connection with the purchase of firearms, falsely claiming U.S. citizenship and unlawfully possessing a firearm silencer.

Joao Ricardo DeBorba, 48, has been detained at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac since he was convicted at a bench trial in February in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

DeBorba entered the U.S. from Brazil in 1999 on a tourist visa. Investigators say he overstayed his visa and created fake documents to work in the country and to buy firearms, the news release states.

In April 2019, DeBorba claimed he was a U.S. citizen on documents while buying guns in Oregon and Washington. He was arrested shortly after for drunken driving, and police found he had a Glock pistol, the news release states.

Investigators said he continued to buy more guns and falsely claimed to be a citizen.

In November 2019, DeBorba was arrested for domestic violence assault and required to surrender his firearms. He was arrested again, that same month, for violating the no-contact order in that case, and police seized 20 firearms from his house, according to the news release.

In January 2022, DeBorba was convicted in a second domestic violence assault case and informed he couldn’t possess firearms.

But when law enforcement served a search warrant at DeBorba’s residence a few months later, agents seized five firearms, four of which had no serial numbers or manufacturer marks, also known as “ghost guns,” which appear to have been manufactured from parts ordered online, the news release states.

DeBorba also had a lot of ammunition, firearms parts, firearms silencers, magazines and gun cases.

The case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Vancouver Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms & Explosives and the Social Security Office of Inspector General.