Convicted Felon Sentenced for Shooting at Federal Agents
VICTORIA, Texas – A 30-year-old Cuero resident has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of assault on a federal agent and related firearms charges, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Joseph Brent Benoit pleaded guilty Jan. 7, 2019.
Today, Senior U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey sentenced Benoit to 60 months for the assault on a federal agent and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was also ordered to serve a 120-month term of imprisonment for discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence which must be served consecutively to the other sentence imposed.
On supervised release when he committed this offense, Judge Rainey further ordered Benoit also to serve 30 months on the revocation on that term, 10 of which was to be served consecutively to the new sentence.
The total 190-month prison term will be immediately followed by three years of supervised release.
On Aug. 8, 2017, deputies with the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) were attempting to execute a felony arrest warrant for Benoit. When officers observed Benoit driving a black Chevrolet truck in Dewitt County, they requested the assistance of local law enforcement in stopping the vehicle. At that time, Benoit briefly stopped but then fled in the vehicle. Authorities pursued him until coming to a stop at his residence.
Benoit exited the truck and ran to the residence while carrying an assault rifle. Shortly thereafter, agents heard a single gunshot and immediately retreated to a position of safety and cover outside the residence. Law enforcement verbally attempted to get Benoit to exit the location, but were unsuccessful.
After a multi-hour stand-off, law enforcement officers were able to gain entry into the residence and located Benoit hiding in a crawl space under the floor that was accessed by a hidden door in the floor of the residence. At the time Benoit was arrested and taken into custody, USMS deputies observed the assault rifle laying on the ground next to him - an AR-15 style, .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle. During a search of Benoit, officers discovered 37 rounds of .223 caliber ammunition in his pants pockets. Benoit had previously been convicted of a felony and is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition.
After authorities secured the scene, they discovered a round hole in the glass on the front door that was consistent in size with a .223 caliber bullet. Based on the damage surrounding the hole, it appeared the bullet was fired from inside the residence. Federal agents were able to locate a fired .223 caliber casing inside the residence and the fired .223 caliber bullet outside in a wooden railing along the approach to the front door.
Benoit has been and will remain in federal custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.
USMS, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI, Cuero Police Department and Texas Rangers conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Corpus Christi Police Department Bomb Squad, Dewitt County Sheriff’s Office, Victoria Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patti Booth and Lance Watt are prosecuting the case.