Courtesy Angela Dodge,
LAREDO, Texas – Ruben Ibarra, 37, of Laredo, Texas, has been sentenced to 120 months in federal prison today for illegally possessing a firearm, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Laredo Police Department Chief Carlos R. Maldonado. The conviction and sentence stems from an altercation at the Coyote Creek Bar and Grill restaurant during the early morning hours of Feb. 28, 2011, involving Ibarra and Fernando Perez, 28, also of Laredo.
A federal jury found Ibarra guilty on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, following a one-day-trial and one hour of deliberation, while Perez had pleaded guilty to the charge several weeks earlier. During Ibarra’s trial, the jury heard testimony from four eyewitnesses who positively identified Ibarra as possessing a Glock 9mm pistol with a 30-round clip inside the Coyote Creek Bar and Grill. One witness, an unarmed security guard, testified that after seeing Ibarra with the pistol in hand, he tried to talk him into just leaving the restaurant, but Ibarra reacted by pushing the security guard up against a wall and putting the pistol to the guard’s stomach. Another witness testified that Ibarra chased him into men’s restroom, pointed the pistol at him and then fired it away from the witness before leaving. Other witnesses testified to seeing Ibarra holding the pistol. United States District Judge Marina García Marmolejo, who presided over the trial, also ordered Ibarra to serve two years of supervised release following completion of his prison term.
Perez is pending sentencing. Both men have been in custody since their arrest on Aug. 19, 2011, where they will remain pending further criminal proceedings.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a nationwide commitment to reduce gun and gang crime in America by networking existing local programs that target gun and gun crime and providing these programs with additional tools necessary to be successful. Since its inception in 2001, approximately $2 billion has been committed to this initiative. This funding is being used to hire new federal and state prosecutors, support investigators, provide training, distribute gun lock safety kits, deter juvenile gun crime and develop and promote community outreach efforts as well as to support other gun and gang violence reduction strategies.
The matter was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in conjunction with the Laredo Police Department. Several police officers have been cross-designated as ATF Task Force Officers working directly with the federal agency, assisting in the investigation of this and other crimes. Assistant United States Attorney Homero Ramirez prosecuted the case.