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Press Release

Felon Sent to Federal Prison for Unlawfully Possessing a Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Velasco, a fugitive from justice, was arrested with a stolen pistol and ammunition after trying to run from the police.

A Princeton, Texas, man was sentenced May 29, 2020, to more than six years in federal prison after possessing a gun as a felon.

Rodolfo Velasco, age 36, from Princeton, Texas, received the prison term after a March 10, 2020, guilty plea to one count of Possession of a Firearm by a Felon.

Information presented by the United States at the detention, change of plea, and sentencing hearings revealed that on or about May 30, 2019, Velasco illegally possessed a pistol and ammunition.  He was prohibited from possessing guns because he had been previously convicted of possession of a controlled substance in Minnesota in 2003 and of distribution of methamphetamine in Nebraska in 2011.  Velasco’s unlawful possession was discovered when law enforcement apprehended him as a fugitive for a parole violation, following a foot pursuit.  When he was captured he was in possession of a stolen pistol and ammunition.  

Velasco was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Velasco was sentenced to 77 months’ imprisonment.   He must also serve a one-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Velasco is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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. The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted this case with support from our Project Guardian partners.  For more information about Project Guardian, please see /media/1122011/download?inline.

The case was investigated by the United States Marshal’s Service and the Sioux City Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Forde Fairchild. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 19-4057.

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Updated June 2, 2020

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses