Alamo man sentenced on firearms charge for second time in 10 years

McALLEN — An Alamo man previously convicted of federal firearms violations was once again sentenced in connection with new firearms charges, court notes show.

More than 10 years after his last federal conviction, Arturo Cuellar Zavala Jr. was sentenced last Wednesday to 12 months in prison for violating a federal firearms law by being in possession of a firearm. This is something he’s prohibited from doing because of past felony convictions, court records show.

Cuellar was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Randy Crane and was last convicted of firearms charges in July 2008. He was then sent back to prison four years later after violating the terms of his probation, and agreed to plead guilty to the offense in August 2008, about six months after federal agents arrested him in February, court records show.

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In February 2018, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, with assistance from agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration, found Cuellar was in possession of a firearm and ammunition after they executed a search warrant at a East Maurer Street residence in Pharr, where Cuellar was staying.

“The search yielded one firearm, a SCCY, Model CPX-2, .9mm caliber pistol, S/N: 376280, one assault rifle magazine loaded with 30 rounds of .223, ammunition, and a box of ammunition containing approximately 18 rounds of .223 ammunition,” the complaint against Cuellar stated.

The handgun, which was found in a drawer in the master bedroom of Cuellar’s residence, was loaded with a magazine containing eight rounds of 9mm caliber ammunition, the court record shows.

During an interview with federal agents, Cuellar admitted to placing the firearm in the drawer of the master bedroom.

The 31-year-old man also has a lengthy criminal record in Hidalgo County with felony and misdemeanor arrests, including assault on a public servant, theft, tampering with evidence, evading arrest and burglary of a building, to name a few.

In addition to his appearance in federal court Jan. 23, which resulted in his 12-month prison sentence, Cuellar faces state charges in connection with a January 2018 arrest after he attempted to burglarize a home in Mission, during which he also allegedly attempted to evade arrest from a Mission police officer.

He was caught, arrested and charged with burglary of a building and evading arrest charges, court records show.

If convicted of the most serious charge, the third degree felony evading arrest, Cuellar faces between two and 10 years in state jail, and a $10,000 fine.

As part of his sentence, the court imposed three years of supervised release upon completion of the aforementioned prison term. His federal sentence will run concurrently with any pending state charges, court notes show.