Sentencing Set for Orem Man who Pleaded Guilty to Possession of Firearm Following Felony Conviction
Firearm Used in October Gang Confrontation in Orem
SALT LAKE CITY – Deny De La Cruz Rodriguez, age 23, of Orem, who pleaded guilty Thursday to possession of a firearm and ammunition following a felony conviction, will be sentenced July 27, 2017, at 1:30 p.m. by U.S. District Chief Judge David Nuffer.
In a statement filed in court as a part of his plea agreement, De La Cruz Rodriguez admitted that because of a previous felony conviction for attempted robbery in California, he was prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm.
On Oct. 25, 2016, law enforcement officers in Orem obtained a warrant to search a house where a gun, used in an Oct. 20, 2016 confrontation between two rival gangs at Orem High School, was believed to have been taken. During the confrontation, an individual pulled out a pistol and fired it in the direction of a rival before all parties left the scene, according to a document filed in state court in Utah County. No one was injured. Another individual has been charged in state court in connection with the firing of the gun during the incident.
When officers executed the warrant on the residence, they encountered De La Cruz Rodriguez and another family member. In the bedroom, where De La Cruz Rodriguez was located, officers recovered a loaded pistol between the bed mattress and the box spring. The pistol had been reported as stolen in Millard County. Law enforcement officers also noted several places in the bedroom where Florencia 13 was tagged, along with the defendant’s gang moniker, “Dreamer.” Florencia 13 was one of the gangs involved in the confrontation at Orem High, along with members of Norteños 13.
“No good will come from an armed gang member who is prohibited from lawfully possessing a firearm,” U.S. Attorney John W. Huber said today. “We are seeing increases in the violent crime rate in our state and in other places around the country. Targeting gang members with firearms is an important way to fight back against violent crime and ensure Utah communities remain safe for all of us.”
De La Cruz Rodriguez faces up to 10 years in federal prison for the firearms conviction.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Isaac C. Workman and Deputy Utah County Attorney Lance E. Bastian, who is designated as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. The Orem Police Department, the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force and the special agents of Homeland Security Investigations have been involved in investigating the case.