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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Colorado

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Pueblo Man Found Guilty Of Being A Felon In Possession Of A Firearm Following Two-Day Jury Trial

This was the first federal criminal trial in the District of Colorado since COVID-19 impacted the court system

DENVER – United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn today announced that Maximillian Zeferino Esquibel, age 32 of Pueblo, was found guilty following a two-day jury trial in U.S. District Court in Colorado.  The jury deliberated for less than 3 hours before reaching their verdict.  Following the trial, which was before U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson, the judge continued Esquibel’s bond pending sentencing, which is scheduled for December 4, 2020.  Esquibel appeared at the trial in person.  This is the first criminal jury trial in the District of Colorado since COVID-19 impacted the court system in March.  The FBI and Southern Colorado Safe Streets Violent Gang Task Force joined in this announcement.

According to court documents and facts presented at trial, on August 9, 2019, law enforcement agents and officers executed a search warrant at Esquibel’s residence.  He was present during the execution of the warrant, along with his girlfriend.  There were children present as well.

During the search investigators found four firearms, including an AR-15 style rifle, with the safety switch turned to the “fire” position, loaded with an extended magazine that contained multiple rounds of live ammunition.  Three other firearms and over 100 rounds of ammunition were also seized. 

Esquibel had a prior felony conviction in Pueblo County in 2006 for aggravated robbery, making it a crime for him to possess firearms.

This case was investigated by the FBI and Southern Coloarado Safe Streets Violent Gang Task Force.  The trial was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason St. Julien and Thomas Minser.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted this case with support from Project Guardian partners.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.  Related court documents can be found on PACER by searching for Case Number 19-cr-376.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

DENVER – United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn today announced that Maximillian Zeferino Esquibel, age 32 of Pueblo, was found guilty following a two-day jury trial in U.S. District Court in Colorado.  The jury deliberated for less than 3 hours before reaching their verdict.  Following the trial, which was before U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson, the judge continued Esquibel’s bond pending sentencing, which is scheduled for December 4, 2020.  Esquibel appeared at the trial in person.  This is the first criminal jury trial in the District of Colorado since COVID-19 impacted the court system in March.  The FBI and Southern Colorado Safe Streets Violent Gang Task Force joined in this announcement.

According to court documents and facts presented at trial, on August 9, 2019, law enforcement agents and officers executed a search warrant at Esquibel’s residence.  He was present during the execution of the warrant, along with his girlfriend.  There were children present as well.

During the search investigators found four firearms, including an AR-15 style rifle, with the safety switch turned to the “fire” position, loaded with an extended magazine that contained multiple rounds of live ammunition.  Three other firearms and over 100 rounds of ammunition were also seized. 

Esquibel had a prior felony conviction in Pueblo County in 2006 for aggravated robbery, making it a crime for him to possess firearms.

This case was investigated by the FBI and Southern Coloarado Safe Streets Violent Gang Task Force.  The trial was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason St. Julien and Thomas Minser.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted this case with support from Project Guardian partners.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.  Related court documents can be found on PACER by searching for Case Number 19-cr-376.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

Topic(s): 
Project Guardian
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Jeff Dorschner Spokesman, Public Affairs Officer U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado 303-454-0243 direct; 303-489-2047 cell
Press Release Number: 
Case Number 19-cr-376
Updated September 2, 2020