Last 2 defendants in federal firearms case sentenced

The federal courthouse at Bentsen Tower, located on Bicentennial Boulevard in McAllen, is seen in this August 2018 file photo. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

McALLEN — Two men, one from Elsa and the other from Mission, will serve prison terms for violating federal firearm laws, court records show.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa sentenced Roberto Saenz Bautista Jr. and Jose Maria Flores to 36 and 46 months in federal prison, respectively, in connection with violation of firearm laws.

The two men — previously convicted felons in Hidalgo County — were arrested May 25, 2017, after authorities found them in possession of weapons, a violation of federal law.

During surveillance of an apartment in Edinburg, authorities saw a man later identified as Ramiro Ruiz Ortiz exit a vehicle and enter the apartment.

Another vehicle arrived at the apartment, and another man, later identified as Bautista, was seen going into the apartment.

“Briefly after Bautista arrived, four Hispanic males exited the residence,” the complaint stated.

Isaac Villarreal Sanchez was among the four men. Federal agents inside a marked police vehicle subsequently attempted to stop the men and a brief chase “through several city streets within the city of Edinburg” ensued.

“During the pursuit, agents observed the occupants of the vehicle toss a ski mask and two firearms out of the window of the (vehicle) in the vicinity of Freddy Gonzalez Elementary School on Sugar Road north of Canton Road in Edinburg, Texas. The ski mask and firearms were recovered by law enforcement,” the complaint stated.

The two firearms were later identified as a Jimenez Arms, model J.A.-380 auto caliber pistol, and a Colt, government model, .22 caliber long-rifle pistol, records show.

When the pursuit endednear East Chavez Street, just east of North 14th Place, the four men, including Flores, attempted to evade arrest but were eventually detained and arrested.

During their interviews, authorities determined all four men had prior felony convictions on their records.

Villarreal Sanchez, 40, Ruiz Ortiz, 42, both of Edcouch, were also charged with being felons in possession of a firearm related to their arrests on May 25, 2017, court records show.

Veronica Monreal Requeña, 35, of San Juan, was added to a superseding indictment filed July 18, 2017, a few months after the initial arrests.

On Oct. 26, 2018, Villarreal Sanchez was sentenced to 57 months in prison with three years of supervised release upon completion of the prison term, according to court records.

Monreal Requeño was sentenced Jan. 31 to time served after nearly 19 months in federal custody and is currently serving two years of supervised release.

Ruiz Ortiz, who had admitted he was the driver on the day the group attempted to evade law enforcement, had his federal charge dismissed by the U.S. government March 1, records show.

In addition to serving their respective prison terms, Bautista, 29, and Flores, 36, will serve three years of supervised release, records show.