A West New York felon was convicted of possession of three firearms and cocaine trafficking on Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger announced.
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.
On July 2nd, 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.
Sellinger credited members of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, deputy marshals with the U.S. Marshals Service in the District of New Jersey, special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, 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.