Federal Jury Convicts Laredo Man in Gun Case
|Oct. 28, 2011|
LAREDO, Texas – Ruben Ibarra, 37, of Laredo, Texas, has been convicted by a jury’s verdict of being a prior convicted felon unlawfully in possession of a firearm, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The verdict was announced on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, following a one-day-trial and one hour of deliberation.
The jury heard testimony from four eyewitnesses who positively identified Ibarra as possessing a Glock 9mm pistol with a 30-round clip at the Coyote Creek Bar and Grill restaurant on Feb. 28, 2011. One witness, an unarmed security guard, testified that after seeing Ibarra with the pistol in hand, he tried to talk him into just leaving the restaurant, but Ibarra reacted by pushing the security guard up against a wall and put the pistol to the guard’s stomach. Another witness testified that Ibarra chased him into men’s restroom, pointed the pistol at him and then fired it away from the witness before leaving. Other witnesses testified to seeing Ibarra holding the pistol.
Ibarra has prior felony convictions for attempted murder, aggravated assault, cocaine possession and tampering with evidence. His history of arrests begins in 1992 and includes more than one arrest for drug possession, attempted murder and murder.
An investigation into the events surrounding the incident, as well as court records in support of the guilty plea of co-defendant Fernando Perez, 28, also from Laredo, Texas, concluded that several fights broke out at the Coyote Creek on Feb. 28, 2011, about 1:45 a.m. Ibarra and Perez were involved in one of the fights with several patrons. Shortly after several persons were dispersed, someonereturned into the restaurant with the pistol. Unarmed security guards gave the alarm to other patrons to hide and moved some patrons to other rooms. One guard told two patrons, off-duty correctional officers working for the GEO federal detention facility in Laredo who were involved in a fight with Ibarra and Perez, to hide in the men’s restroom because Ibarra was after them and had a pistol in his hand. One security guard attempted to intervene by getting in the way of Ibarra, who already had the pistol in his hand, and tried to convince Ibarra to forget about it and just leave. Ibarra pushed the guard against the wall, pushed the pistol to the guard’s stomach. The guard moved out of the wayand let Ibarra pass. Ibarra then went into the men’s restroom where the two patrons where hiding and confronted them. Ibarra pointed the pistol at both men and fired in the direction of an empty stall away from the two men. Another patron, who was also hiding in the men’s restroom, heard the patrons pleading that they not be shot.
Ibarra and Perez ran from the restroom into a parked blue 1999 Ford Crown Victoria sedan which attempted to leave when a Laredo Police Department vehicle arrived and attempted to block the car’s departure. Perez ran from the car with the pistol in his hand. The officer ran after Perez and arrested Perez a short distance away after Perez tripped and fell, leaving the pistol on a decorative boulder near the Coyote Creek. The pistol was loaded and had another 18 live rounds in the extended, 30-round magazine. Within minutes, officers spotted the vehicle Ibarra was driving heading the wrong way on a one-way street. After a short high-speed chase, Ibarra was removed from the vehicle and arrested.
United States District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo, who presided over the trial, has scheduled sentencing for both men on Jan. 12, 2012, at which time they face up to 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. Both men have been in custody since their arrest on Aug. 19, 2011.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a nationwide commitment to reduce gun and gang crime in America by networking existing local programs that target gun and gun crime and providing these programs with additional tools necessary to be successful. Since its inception in 2001, approximately $2 billion has been committed to this initiative. This funding is being used to hire new federal and state prosecutors, support investigators, provide training, distribute gun lock safety kits, deter juvenile gun crime and develop and promote community outreach efforts as well as to support other gun and gang violence reduction strategies.
The matter was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in conjunction with the Laredo Police Department. Several police officers have been cross-designated as ATF Task Force Officers working directly with the federal agency, assisting in the investigation of this and other crimes. Assistant United States Attorney Homero Ramirez prosecuted the case.