News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Moorhead felon pleads guilty to possessing a .410-gauge shotgun

January 25, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS – Earlier today in federal court, a 27-year-old felon from Moorhead
pleaded guilty to possessing a .410-gauge shotgun. Justin James Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one
count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Rodriguez, who was indicted on June 21, 2011,
entered his plea before United States District Court Judge John R. Tunheim.

In his plea agreement, Rodriguez admitted possessing the gun on January 27, 2011.
According to a police report filed in the case, officers spotted a stolen jacket inside a car. During
the execution of the related search warrant, they also found the short-barreled shotgun under a
duffel bag on the rear floor of the vehicle. After finding the gun, officers found seven shotgun
shells and one spent shotgun shell. Police also uncovered several photos of Rodriguez holding
the shotgun.

Because he is a felon, Rodriguez is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition at
any time. Rodriguez’s previous felony convictions, all of which occurred in Cass County,
include possession of a controlled substance (2005), burglary (2005), conspiracy to commit theft
(2006), and delivery of methamphetamine (2008).

For his crime, Rodriguez faces a potential maximum penalty of ten years in prison. Judge
Tunheim will determine his sentence at a future hearing. This case is the result of an
investigation by the Moorhead Police Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey M. Bryan.

Note, this case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (“PSN”), an initiative launched by the
U.S. Justice Department in 2001 to promote a multi-jurisdictional, comprehensive approach to
reducing gun crime in America. PSN provides resources to strengthen law enforcement and
crime prevention partnerships that work to make our communities safer.

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