Donna man gets 17 years on federal gun charge

McALLEN — A man previously convicted of a state felony in which he shot his lover’s husband was sen-tenced to 17 years in prison Wednesday on federal gun charges, court records show.

Joaquin “El Flaco” Ramos De La Cruz Jr. stood before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane for his sentencing hearing related to his January 2017 arrest. U.S. Marshals arrested him on an outstanding state warrant that was being executed by the San Juan Law Enforcement Emergency Regional Response Team, or LEERT, at a Donna residence.

During the hearing, Crane handed down a 204-month prison sentence on one count of unlawful transport of a firearm after authorities found a pistol belonging to De La Cruz in a bedroom at the residence.

According to the complaint against him, the 32-year-old man not only attempted to flee arrest once mar-hals and other task force officers made entry into the residence, but he also fired several rounds from a pistol later recovered by authorities.

“As law enforcement made entry to the residence, a male subject, later identified as De La Cruz, was ob-served running to a back room where he barricaded himself. Law enforcement heard several gunshots and subsequently made entry into the room,” the complaint states.

When authorities entered the room, they observed De La Cruz go out the back door and then jump a fence into the adjacent property where he was apprehended by officers at the scene.

Law enforcement retrieved the pistol, a 9mm Ruger that was determined to have traveled between states.

During his interview with the feds, De La Cruz stated he made several attempts to exit the room through the window of the bedroom and then began shooting at the back door of the room to escape capture.

He also told officials that he had recently stolen the pistol from someone in Alamo.

In addition to the aggravated robbery conviction, De La Cruz had been previously convicted in connection with an aggravated assault and attempted murder charges, according to a news release from the Southern District of Texas U.S. Attorney’s office.

De La Cruz, who was affiliated with the Mexican Mafia, a prison gang, was accused of and eventually pleaded guilty to one count of attempt to commit murder related to the October 2008 shooting of Audon Hernandez, in south Alamo.

The dispute, reported by The Monitor, turned out to be over a “love triangle” and resulted in De La Cruz shooting Hernandez four times in his legs, and then beating him over the head with the gun.

De La Cruz, about 22 years old at the time, was reportedly involved with Hernandez’s wife.

According to court records, De La Cruz was given an eight-year prison sentence in exchange for his guilty plea.

“In handing down the sentence, Judge Crane considered De La Cruz’s disregard for human life displayed in his prior criminal conduct in which he discharged firearms at multiple individuals in separate criminal episodes,” the release states. “The court also considered several jail calls the defendant made in which he threatened others with death while awaiting sentencing.”

De La Cruz, who pleaded guilty last September to the only charge against him, was represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Joe. G. Jacinto, court records show.