NEWARK, N.J. – A federal jury has convicted a Hudson County, New Jersey, man of possessing three firearms and ammunition and possessing with intent to distribute cocaine, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced Wednesday.
Justin A. Rodriguez, 29, of West New York, was convicted following a six-day trial before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler on one count of possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
On July 2, 2020, while conducting surveillance, law enforcement observed an unknown individual place what appeared to be a handgun into Rodriguez’s vehicle. A search of Rodriguez’s vehicle pursuant to a search warrant yielded one 9-millimeter handgun loaded with nine rounds of 9-millimeter ammunition; one .45-caliber handgun loaded with eight rounds of .45-caliber ammunition; one .38-caliber revolver; one clear plastic bag containing cocaine; and four bags containing marijuana.
The firearm charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. The cocaine trafficking charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. Sentencing is scheduled for
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited members of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura: deputy marshals with the U.S. Marshals Service in the District of New Jersey, under the supervision of U.S. Marshal Juan Mattos Jr.; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Matthews; and special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson, with the investigation leading to the conviction.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah A. Sulkowski and Benjamin Levin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
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