Mexican nationals plead guilty to illegal firearms and marijuana

Guilty Plea

Two Mexican nationals have pleaded guilty in federal court to illegally possessing firearms after police officers interrupted them shooting handguns in their backyard.

Juan Carlos Cuevas-Alvarez, 33, a citizen of Mexico unlawfully residing in Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner on Monday, March 11, 2019, to being an illegal alien in possession of firearms and to possessing marijuana to distribute. Co-defendant Nestor K. Rodriguez, 27, also a citizen of Mexico unlawfully residing in Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty on Feb. 27, 2019, to being an illegal alien in possession of firearms.

Kansas City, Mo., police officers were dispatched in response to a report of gunshots to the residence shared by Cuevas-Alvarez, Rodriguez and a third person at about 4:24 a.m. on Aug. 5, 2018. When officers arrived at the residence, they heard gunshots coming from behind the residence. Cuevas-Alvarez admitted that he shot two to three full magazines worth of ammunition in the backyard of the residence. Rodriguez admitted that he shot a fully loaded magazine of ammunition at a beer bottle in the backyard of the residence.

When officers searched the residence, they found a Cobray 9mm pistol, a Walther .380-caliber handgun, and a Sig Saur 9mm pistol. Officers also found $35,289 in cash and approximately 26 pounds (11.79 kilograms) of marijuana, which was contained in several individually wrapped and heat-sealed plastic bags inside of two black trash bags.

Under federal statutes, Cuevas-Alvarez is subject to a sentence of up to 15 years in federal prison without parole. Rodriguez is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of these defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rudolph R. Rhodes IV. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).