Connecticut Man Pleads Guilty to Stolen Firearms Offenses and Making False Statements
BOSTON – A Connecticut man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Springfield to a variety of charges in connection with stealing 17 firearms from a West Springfield gun shop and making false statements to federal agents.
Fernando Rivera, 24, of New Britain, Conn., pleaded guilty to one count each of theft of firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee; being a felon in possession of a firearm; interstate transportation of a stolen firearm; receipt, possession, concealment, storage, barter, sale, or disposition of a stolen firearm in interstate commerce; and making false statements to a federal official. U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni scheduled sentencing for Sept. 15, 2021.
In September 2020, Rivera was charged by criminal complaint with co-defendant Christian Castro, who agreed to plead guilty yesterday.
Rivera was a felon on state probation for a prior narcotic charge in Connecticut. Shortly after midnight on or about Aug. 29, 2020, Rivera and Castro engaged in a crime spree in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts that included seven ATM thefts and culminated in the theft of 17 firearms from a Federal Firearms Licensee in West Springfield, Mass.
On Sept. 18, 2020, federal agents arrested the two men at their homes in Connecticut.
The firearms charges each provide for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of making false statements provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell and Kelly D. Brady, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Boston Field Division made the announcement. Special assistance was provided by the Massachusetts State Police; Springfield, Hadley, West Springfield, New Britain (Conn.) and Middletown (Conn.) Police Departments; Connecticut State Police; Connecticut Department of Correction; and Connecticut Judicial Branch Adult Probation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven H. Breslow of Mendell’s Springfield Branch Office is prosecuting the case.