August 9, 2022

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Gunfire reports lead to hefty prison sentence

2 min read

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 26-year-old Corpus Christi man has been sent to prison following his convictions of conspiracy to distribute narcotics and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

A federal jury deliberated for approximately two hours following a three-day trial before returning a guilty verdict April 6 on both counts against Jonathan Rodriguez, Corpus Christi.

Today, U.S. District Judge David Morales sentenced him to a total of 300 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence that detailed the long-term drug conspiracy Rodriguez operated.

At trial, the jury heard that Rodriguez was a co-conspirator in a multi-person crack cocaine trafficking scheme. From 2016 to 2019, Rodriguez managed a Corpus Christi residence from where drugs were distributed.

In May 2019, law enforcement responded to reports of gunfire between rival drug dealers at the property. A search of the residence revealed various amounts of crack cocaine and meth.

The jury also heard that Rodriguez had maintained a commercial storage unit in Corpus Christi. A search of the unit revealed $1.26 million in U.S. currency, more than 600 grams of cocaine, 52 rifles, shotguns and pistols.

At trial, the defense attempted to convince the jury Rodriguez was merely a narcotics user, not a distributor and the evidence was insufficient. However, they saw video evidence of Rodriguez distributing narcotics within the house and surveillance footage at the commercial storage unit.

The jury did not believe defense claims and found him guilty as charged.

Rodriguez will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation with the assistance of Corpus Christi Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dennis E. Robinson and John Marck prosecuted the case.

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