South Texas Gang Member Ordered to Prison
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A 29-year-old Brownsville resident has been ordered to prison following his conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Rafael Gandaria pleaded guilty Sept. 20, 2017.
Today, U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera ordered him to prison for a total of 87 months in prison. At the hearing, the court heard that Gandaria is affiliated with Partido Revolucianario Mexicano, a security threat group in south Texas and Mexico, and that the sentence was necessary to protect the public from Gandaria’s future crimes.
The court also heard additional information regarding Gandaria’s criminal history which was determined to be in the highest criminal category under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. His convictions include simple battery in Georgia in 2005, attempted robbery in Brownsville in 2007, assault on a public servant in Brownsville in 2011, assault family violence in Brownsville in 2011, evading arrest in Brownsville in 2011, resisting arrest in 2013 in Florida and possession of a controlled substance in Minnesota in 2014.
As a convicted felon, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm per federal law.
His crimes included violent behavior while being incarcerated for this firearms charge. Judge Olvera also heard argument relating to Gandaria’s violence towards jailers while being detained and his transportation to and from jail for court settings. Judge Olvera noted Gandaria lacked remorse for his actions before handing down the sentence.
Gandaria had posted a rap video on Facebook in which he displayed a Smith & Wesson SD40VE pistol. In November 2016, authorities executed a search warrant at his residence, at which time they located and seized that firearm.
Gandaria will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Corley is prosecuting the case.