A Marlboro resident with a prior felony conviction has been sentenced to five years in prison for illegally possessing a firearm and conspiring to illegally sell firearms, including handguns and a semi-automatic rifle, in and around Monmouth and Ocean counties, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced on Jan. 26.
Javier Rodriguez-Valpais, 33, aka “Broly,” previously pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to engage in firearms trafficking and one count of possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon. Thompson imposed the sentence on Jan. 26 by videoconference, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court, from May 2020 through September 2020, Rodriguez-Valpais and other individuals were members of a gun trafficking conspiracy that spanned from Florida to New Jersey.
Rodriguez-Valpais sold a .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle to co-defendant Enrique Quijada, who in turn sold the rifle to an individual working at the direction and supervision of the FBI.
In addition to the prison term, Thompson sentenced Rodriguez-Valpais to three years of supervised release.
Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr., with the investigation leading to the sentencing. He also thanked the FBI Tampa Division, the ATF Newark and Tampa Field Divisions, and the Freehold Borough Police Department for their assistance in the investigation, according to the press release.
In July 2021 the U.S. Department of Justice launched five cross-jurisdictional strike forces to help reduce gun violence by disrupting illegal firearms trafficking in key regions across the country, according to the press release.
According to gun trace data, a significant number of firearms recovered in the New York and northern New Jersey area originate from outside the area. The new strike force will help ensure sustained and focused coordination between law enforcement and prosecutors in the New York and northern New Jersey area with their counterparts in other locations, according to the press release.