Thirteen Rockford Area Residents Facing Federal Gun And/Or Drug Charges
ROCKFORD — Thirteen Rockford area residents are facing federal gun and/or narcotics charges, federal and local law enforcement officials announced today. The indictments stem from a year-long investigation into firearms and cocaine trafficking in the Rockford area led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Rockford Police Department. ATF agents, together with local police and other authorities, began executing arrest warrants this morning.
Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, praised the teamwork of the ATF and Rockford Police Department. Mr. Fardon announced the charges with Carl J. Vasilko, Special Agent-in-Charge of ATF in Chicago, and Chet Epperson, Rockford Police Chief. Also participating in the investigation and arrests were the Belvidere Police Department, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office and the Illinois State Police.
Ten of the thirteen defendants were arrested today; one defendant was already in custody; and one defendant was previously arraigned. Those arrested today will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Iain D. Johnston and will remain in federal custody pending detention hearings.
Everardo Rodriguez, 28, Oscar Pina, 38, and Gabriel Rodriguez, 38, are each charged separately with selling cocaine. Mallek Sanchez, 28, is charged alone with selling cocaine, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number. Teovonni Cunningham, 29, Darrell Reed, 26, and Michael Schaffer, 31, are all charged together with conspiring to possess and sell stolen firearms. Cunningham is also charged with possession of 21 stolen firearms and numerous rounds of stolen ammunition, with being a felon in possession of those stolen firearms and ammunition, and with selling one of the stolen firearms and the stolen ammunition. Reed is also charged with possessing and selling four of the stolen firearms.
Daniel Guajardo, 24, is charged separately with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a short-barreled shotgun. Jose G. Pagan, 37, is charged alone with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number. Mario A. Guerra, 33, and Rosario Pillado, 21, are each charged separately with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Sergio Cazares, 20, and Jose M. Martinez, 26, are each charged separately with possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
All of the defendants are Rockford residents, except for Darrell Reed who is a resident of Byron, Ill., and Mallek Sanchez, who is a resident of Belvidere, Ill.
Each drug distribution charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Each charge of a felon possessing a firearm, of possessing or selling a stolen firearm, or of possessing of a short-barreled firearm carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. Each charge of possessing a firearm that has an obliterated serial number carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. The charge of conspiring to possess and sell stolen firearms carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. Upon conviction, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The government is being represented by Assistant United States Attorney John G. McKenzie.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government will have the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.