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Press Release

Reedley Man Sentenced to 19 Years in Prison for Drug and Gun Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — Netzahualcoyotl Cerna, 40, of Reedley, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd to 19 years in prison for carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it, and being a felon in possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to evidence presented at trial, Cerna was apprehended in Reedley on April 8, 2019. Cerna, a convicted felon, was wanted for violations of parole at the time of his arrest. Officers located a loaded firearm and approximately 121 grams of methamphetamine on his person. Cerna admitted to law enforcement after his arrest that he intended to sell the methamphetamine to make money and that he was carrying the firearm for protection because gang members were trying to tax his drug proceeds. On Oct. 23, 2019, a federal jury found Cerna guilty.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the Reedley Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine Schuh and Kathleen Servatius prosecuted the case.

This case is 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. The Department of Justice 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. To learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods, go to

This case is also 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. For more information about Project Guardian, please see

Updated January 28, 2020

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Press Release Number: 1:19-cr-096 DAD