Source: US State of California
FRESNO, Calif. — On Wednesday, after a two–day trial, a jury found Netzahualcoyotl Cerna, 40, of Fresno, guilty of one count of carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to evidence presented at trial, on April 8, 2019, Cerna, a convicted felon, was arrested in Reedley for parole violations. Cerna was in possession of a loaded gun and approximately 121 grams of methamphetamine. Cerna admitted to law enforcement officers that he intended to sell the methamphetamine to make money and that he was carrying the firearm for protection because gang members were trying to tax his drug proceeds.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the Reedley Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine Schuh and Kathleen Servatius are prosecuting the case.
Cerna is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd on Jan. 27, 2020. Cerna faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, and a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime. To learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods, go to www.justice.gov/psn.