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Feb. 1, 2012

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Convicted Felon Sentenced to Prison for Possessing Firearm and Ammunition

McALLEN, Texas - An Edinburg man, previously convicted of a state felony, will be serving prison term for possessing a firearm and ammunition, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

Chief United States District JudgeRicardo H. Hinojosa sentenced Sergio Cepeda, 30, of Edinburg, Texas, today to 70 months imprisonment to be followed by a two-year-term of supervised release. Having been convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the 139th Judicial District Court in Hidalgo County on March 9, 2010, Cepeda is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm or ammunition. In handing down today’s sentence, Judge Hinojosa noted the defendant’s violent lifestyle and considered that in assessing Cepeda’s punishment.

On July 30, 2010, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers and Edinburg Police Department (EPD) officers armed with a warrant for Cepeda’s arrest on state charges conducted surveillance at an Edinburg residence where he was believed to be living. Investigating officers saw a vehicle leave the residence with Cepeda riding as a passenger, conducted a traffic stop and took Cepeda into custody. Officers then returned to the residence with a search warrant and found a .40 caliber pistol loaded with 11 rounds of ammunition along with letters and photographs depicting Cepeda’s involvement with the “Vallucos” prison gang in a bedroom used by Cepeda. Cepeda admitted to having purchased the pistol from a relative and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) confirmed Cepeda was a convicted felon.
Cepeda was convicted after pleaded guilty in April 2011 and admitting to being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm and ammunition. He will remain in federal custody pending transfer to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future. Cepeda still faces two state court cases alleging aggravated assaults.  

The prosecution of Cepeda is part of Project Safe Neighborhood, an ongoing gun violence reduction initiative of the Department of Justice, which  partners federal, state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide to engage in a unified effort to prosecute individuals who possess firearms or ammunition in violation of federal law. 

The case was investigated by the ATF with the assistance of DPS and EPD. Assistant United States Attorney Steven Schammel prosecuted the case.