McALLEN, Texas; RGV felons heading back to prison for possessing firearm | USAO-SDTX

(STL.News) – Two men have been sentenced to federal prison following their convictions of being previously convicted felons in possession of a firearm, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Benny Guadalupe Garcia, 34, Weslaco, and Rodolfo Rodriguez Jr., 26, Edinburg, pleaded guilty Jan. 30, and Jan. 21, respectively.

Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Garcia to 30 months in prison, while Rodriguez received a 70-month term.  Both will also be ordered to serve three years of supervised release following their sentences.  At the hearing, the court noted the serious nature of the offense given both men’s criminal histories.  Specifically, Rodriguez has previous convictions for aggravated robbery stemming from two incidents in downtown McAllen as well as five vehicle burglary convictions, among others.  Garcia was previously convicted of two burglaries of a habitation as well as multiple assaults and possession of controlled substances.  In handing down the sentence, Judge Crane noted both men’s involvement in gang activity and the serious nature of possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

“Removing guns from the hands of violent, multi-convicted felons remains the focus of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF),” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski.

On Nov. 26, 2019, law enforcement conducting patrol near Edinburg had pulled a vehicle over for a traffic violation.  Garcia was driving with Rodriguez as the front passenger.  Upon searching the vehicle, authorities found a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun with an obliterated serial number and hollow-tip ammunition in the console.

As both men have previous felony convictions, they are prohibited by federal law of possessing firearms or ammunition.

They ultimately admitted to being felons in possession of the firearm found in the vehicle.

Garcia and Rodriguez have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

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