U.S. Attorney Files Federal Charges on Accused Houston Cop-Killer

Elmer Rolando Manzano Mugshot.
Police Mugshot

HOUSTON, Texas — The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas filed two federal charges against the criminal alien accused of killing Houston Police Sergeant Howard Preston. The charges will help ensure the accused killer stays behind bars.

In an interview with Breitbart Texas, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas Ryan Patrick said his office is filing two federal gun charges against 51-year-old Elmer Rolando Manzano-Martinez. Manzano is a Salvadoran national who is illegally present in the United States, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. He is currently under arrest in Harris County, Texas, on charges that he murdered Houston Police Sgt. Howard Preston.

Ryan said his prosecutors filed one count of Alien in Possession of a Firearm and one charge of Felon in Possession of a Firearm. The felon in possession stems from Manzano’s 2002 felony conviction in Harris County, Texas. Patrick said his office is also considering additional federal charges.

“We filed these charges for two reasons,” Patrick said. “First, the delay in Harris County’s filing of Capital Murder charges raised concern that the suspect could walk out of the hospital.”

He said he is also concerned about the current climate in Houston where state district court judges have released Capital Murder suspects on bond.

“We don’t want HSI or other law enforcement agents to have to go looking for the guy,” USA Patrick explained. “It is much more of a danger to our law enforcement agents and the community if we have to pick him up on the streets.”

ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations officers filed an immigration detainer with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office on Monday night, officials told Breitbart Texas. Patrick explained the new federal charges will carry more weight in preventing Manzano’s release from custody.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has not yet committed to seeking the death penalty in the state’s Capital Murder case, spokesman John Donnelly told Click2Houston on Wednesday evening. He explained it is very early in the process.

On October 18, Houston police officers worked a possible domestic violence call at Manzao’s home. No charges were filed against Manzano in that incident. However, the police officer reportedly found six bullets in Manzano’s pocket. Manzano also allegedly told police he had a gun in his safe.

While an illegal alien in possession of ammunition is not a violation of Texas law, it is a violation of federal law, Patrick stated. He explained that if Manzano had bullets in his possession and the Harris County ADA had contacted his office, they could have picked him up on federal charges and started the immigration removal process.

Ryan said his office has been offering local police and prosecutors the option of getting his office involved to bring federal charges on difficult violent crime cases or where they need to get a bad guy off the streets — particularly if a gun is involved.

His office made violent crime a focus when he was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2018. He brought on new prosecutors to focus specifically on violent crime.

As a result, Ryan expressed, prosecutions for violent crimes increased by five percent in his first year and 57 percent the following year. He explained they are now doubling the 10-year rolling average.

Violent crimes have been increasing in big cities across the country, the head of the nation’s largest federal prosecutor’s office stated.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is into violent crime because someone’s got to be,” Patrick concluded.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.


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