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Press Release

Illegal Alien Who Unlawfully Possessed a Gun and Who Was Shot in Waterloo in 2000 Sentenced To Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Mexican Man Was Charged in 2005 and was Fugitive from Justice for 15 Years

A Mexican man who had been a fugitive from justice for nearly 15 years was sentenced today to more than 3 years in federal prison.

Perpecto Rico-Perez, age 51, a citizen of Mexico, who was illegally present in the United States and living in Waterloo, Iowa, in the early 2000s, received the prison term after a July 21, 2020 guilty plea to one count of possession of a firearm by an illegal alien.

Information disclosed at sentencing and in a plea agreement showed that, on May 25, 2000, Rico-Perez and his brother went to Wildside Creationz, a former auto shop in Waterloo.  While they were inside, an altercation ensued and Rico-Perez was shot in his right eye, his brother was shot in the chest and arm, and a third man was shot and killed.  Law enforcement arrived and found close to two kilograms of cocaine inside the business. 

Immediately following the shooting, Rico-Perez and his brother fled the scene and returned to Rico-Perez’s residence in Waterloo, where Rico-Perez’s young daughter called 911.  In the late evening hours of May 25, 2000, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Rico-Perez’s residence.  In a small cupboard above a bathtub in the bathroom, they recovered a .45 caliber handgun, which had been reported stolen less than six months earlier. 

Rico-Perez was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge Linda Reade.  Rico-Perez was sentenced to 37 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a 3-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.  Rico-Perez is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew J. Cole and Special Assistant United States Attorney Dillan Edwards and investigated by the Waterloo Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

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. For more information about Project Guardian, please see /media/1122011/download?inline.

Court file information at

The case file number is 05-CR-02019.

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Updated December 16, 2020

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses