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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 20, 2018

Recent Prosecutions of Firearm and Gang-Related Offenses in Fresno Area

One Indicted One Guilty Plea and Two Sentenced

FRESNO, Calif. — As part the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California’s strategy to reduce violent crime, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced the following cases involving illegal firearms and gang-related offenses.

A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment on September 6, 2018, against Miguel Rodriguez, 37, of Fresno, charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to court documents, on July 17, 2018, Rodriguez was found to be in possession of a .357 revolver in Reedley. Rodriguez had multiple previous felony convictions, and is prohibited from possessing a firearm. This case is the product of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Reedley Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. McKeon is prosecuting the case. The charges against Rodriguez are only allegations; he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Nicholas Delt, 35, of Fresno, pleaded guilty Monday to being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm after incurring a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. According to court documents, police officers attempted to stop Delt while he was driving with an expired registration. Delt failed to stop, drove for approximately half a mile, then got out of the vehicle and ran on foot. When officers caught Delt, they found a loaded handgun with a high capacity magazine in his waistband. Delt has previously been convicted of second degree burglary, a felony, and inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, a misdemeanor. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd on January 7, 2019. This case is the product of an investigation by the Fresno Police Department and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ross Pearson is prosecuting the case.

Juan Briceno, 37, of Fresno, was sentenced Monday by Judge Drozd to five years in prison for distribution of a controlled substance. On June 18, 2018, Briceno pleaded guilty to the charges. Briceno was arrested along with several other defendants as part of a long-term, multi-agency investigation into a Fresno-area street gangs. According to court documents, between February 14, 2017, and December 2, 2017, Briceno sold a confidential informant 141 grams of methamphetamine and 129 grams of cocaine. This case was investigated by the ATF, DEA, HSI, FBI, USMS, Fresno Police Department, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the Multi Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC), California Highway Patrol, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation–Division of Adult Parole, Fresno County Probation, the United States Attorney’s Office, and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. The arrests and search warrants were conducted as part of a joint investigation of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melanie Alsworth and Kimberly A. Sanchez prosecuted the case.

Cecilio Alaniz Jr., 28, of Fresno, was sentenced Monday by Judge Drozd to six years and six months in prison for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. On June 25, 2018, Alaniz pleaded guilty to the charge. Alaniz was charged along with several other defendants following a multi-agency enforcement operation focused on illegal firearms trafficking and drug trafficking offenses. Others named in that case are pending trial and are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. According to court documents, between April 1 and November 11, 2015, Alaniz conspired with Jesse Mendoza to distribute methamphetamine. Alaniz provided methamphetamine to Mendoza, and on October 21, 2015, Mendoza sold a pound of methamphetamine to an undercover agent. This case was investigated by the ATF, DEA, HSI, Fresno Police Department, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the Multi Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC), and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. The arrests and search warrants in the case were conducted as part of an investigation of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melanie Alsworth and Kimberly A. Sanchez prosecuted the case.

The maximum statutory penalty for being a felon in possession of a firearm is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

These cases are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated September 20, 2018