August 21, 2009
SOUTH TEXAS MEN SENTENCED FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING AND FIREARMS CHARGES
(McALLEN, Texas) - Carlos Borjas, 34, of Rio Grande City, Texas; and Juan Jesus Rivera, 31, and Juan Eladio Rivera, 53, both of Roma, Texas, have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for their respective convictions involving firearms and possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.
On July 30, 2008, a bench trial was held before U.S. District Court Judge Randy Crane resulting in Borjas’ conviction for possession with the intent to distribute 142 grams of cocaine and nine counts relating to possession and transfer of machine guns and a short barreled rifles. Jesus Rivera and Eladio Rivera pleaded guilty on July 7, 2008, toknowingly receiving and possessing firearms not registered to them in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. Today, Borjas was sentenced to 121 months, while Jesus Rivera and Eladio Rivera were sentenced to 120 and 70 months, respectively, by Judge Crane today in federal court in McAllen.
Evidence at trial proved that during the course of a 12-month investigation conducted by special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Borjas sold five machine guns and one short-barreled rifle as well as 142 grams of cocaine to confidential informants working with the ATF. None of the firearms had been registered pursuant to the National Firearms Act (NFA).
During the course of a 14-month investigation, Jesus Rivera sold and possessed four short-barreled rifles, six silencers and one AOW (“any other weapon”). Additionally, as a convicted felon, Jesus Rivera possessed or sold eight other non-NFA firearms. Also during this time, Eladio Rivera sold and possessed four short-barreled rifles, one machine gun, four silencers and one AOW. None of the firearms Jesus Rivera or Eladio Rivera sold or possessed had been registered pursuant to the NFA either.
Borjas was responsible for more than seven, but less than 24 firearms including short barreled rifles and machine guns. Jesus Rivera was found responsible for more than 24, but less than 99 firearms including short barreled rifles, machine guns and AOWs, silencers and silencer parts, while Eladio Rivera was found responsible for more than 7 but less than 24 firearms also including short barreled rifles, machine guns, AOWs, silencers and silencer parts.
At sentencing, Judge Crane made several additional findings that impacted the sentence ultimately imposed upon the three men. He found that one or more of the weapons for which all three were responsible had obliterated serial numbers and that they all trafficked two or more firearms. An additional finding was made against Borjas that he possessed ortransferred firearms with knowledge they would be used or possessed in connection with another felony offense.
Borjas, Jesus Rivera and Eladio Rivera will each also serve three-year-terms of supervised release following completion of their prison terms. Jesus Rivera and Eladio Rivera will pay a special assessment of $100 each, while Borjas will pay $1000.
Borjas, Juan Jesus Rivera and Juan Eladio Rivera were taken into custody pursuant to federal warrants executed on their properties on Feb. 7, 2008, and have been in custody since that time.
The ATF was assisted in this investigation by Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Division, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Texas Department of Public Safety. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven T. Schammel.
# # #