DENVER (STL.News) United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn announced that Maximillian Zeferino Esquibel, age 32 of Pueblo, was sentenced to serve 58 months (nearly 5 years) in federal prison, followed by 3 years on supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Esquibel was convicted after the first criminal jury trial in the District of Colorado since COVID-19 impacted the court system in March. The FBI and Southern Colorado Safe Streets Violent Gang Task Force joined in this announcement.
According to court documents and facts presented at trial, on August 9, 2019, law enforcement agents and officers executed a search warrant at Esquibel’s residence. He was present during the execution of the warrant, along with his girlfriend. There were children present as well.
During the search investigators found four firearms, including an AR-15 style rifle, with the safety switch turned to the “fire” position, loaded with an extended magazine that contained multiple rounds of live ammunition. Three other firearms and over 100 rounds of ammunition were also seized. Esquibel had a prior felony conviction in Pueblo County in 2006 for aggravated robbery, making it a crime for him to possess firearms.
“Reducing gun crime in Pueblo has been a focus of this office and the Safe Streets Task Force for several years now,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. “This case is just one example of how, working with the Pueblo Police Department and the District Attorney’s office, we are clearly having a significant impact.”
“The recent sentencing of Maximillian Zeferino Esquibel is a result of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies working together to remove violent criminals from our neighborhoods,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider. “The citizens of Colorado deserve this collective effort, and I want to thank our Southern Colorado Safe Streets Task Force for helping to keep our community safe.”
Esquibel was first charged by Criminal Complaint on August 9, 2019. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on August 12, 2019. He was found guilty following the first post COVID shutdown trial on September 1, 2020, and was sentenced on December 4, 2020.
This case was investigated by the FBI and Southern Coloarado Safe Streets Violent Gang Task Force. Esquibel was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason St. Julien and Thomas Minser.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws.
Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted this case with support from Project Guardian partners.