Honduras: Franklin Pineda sentenced for distributing drugs

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Franklin Pineda-Caceras, Honduran national and member of MS-13, sentenced to federal prison

Accused repeatedly and illegally entered the United States and engaged in violent crimes and drug trafficking

(STL.News) Franklin Pineda-Cacerasalias “Bomba,” 22, of Honduras, was sentenced yesterday to 90 months in federal prison for drug distribution and firearms offenses, U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Central District of Tennessee announced.

Pineda-Caceras, a member of the MS-13 gang, was originally charged in July 2019 with immigration violations, drug trafficking and firearms violations, after being deported from the United States. He then pleaded guilty to illegal re-entry of a previously deported alien; be an illegal alien in possession of ammunition; be an illegal alien in possession of a firearm; possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number; and possession of marijuana and cocaine with intent to distribute. Pineda-Caceras was tried for possession of a firearm in connection with a crime of drug trafficking and was found guilty by a federal jury on February 9, 2022.

According to court filings, Pineda-Caceras entered the United States illegally in January 2014 and was deported in June 2016. Immigration officials later learned that Pineda-Caceras had returned to the United States when they found him, in October 2017, in a Nashville residence, with digital scales, 41 grams of cocaine, more than 44 grams of marijuana, numerous handguns, an assault rifle and an arsenal of ammunition. Pineda-Caceras was expelled again in May 2018.

In January 2019, approximately seven months after his second expulsion, Pineda-Caceras returned to the United States and committed a violent crime, when he kidnapped a student from a local high school and beat the student after the student refused to join the MS-13 street gang. In July 2019, when officers attempted to arrest Pineda-Caceras for the crime, he fled from police and drove his car into the front yard, where his girlfriend, son and girlfriend’s mother were standing. , hitting almost all three.

About two months later, in September 2019, Pineda-Caceras was involved in a car accident and suffered injuries as a result. Objects observed at the scene, then seized during a search of his car, established that he was involved in drug trafficking.

Specifically, when officers searched the car, they found digital scales, bags, bags of cocaine packaged for resale, a revolver with a defaced serial number, an AK-47 rifle and approximately 200 rounds. Officers also recovered numerous cell phones, which later revealed Pineda-Caceras was selling drugs in the hours leading up to the accident.

This matter was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; homeland security investigations; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ahmed Safeeullah and Attorney General Matthew Hoff of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section prosecuted the case.

This lawsuit is part of an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OECDTF). The OECDTF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, multi-agency approach focused on intelligence, which leverages the forces of federal authorities, state and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

SOURCE: USDOJ.Today

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