RENO, Nev. – Eric Romero-Lobato, 39, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Larry R. Hicks to a total of 26 years and seven months in federal prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, for committing two separate violent crimes involving firearms and being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trials:
- On March 4, 2018, Romero-Lobato and another individual attempted to rob a restaurant in Sparks, Nevada, while customers were dining inside. During the attempted robbery, Romero-Lobato — who was armed with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol — fired a shot into the ceiling. On November 19, 2019, a jury found Romero-Lobato guilty of conspiracy to commit interference with commerce by robbery, attempted interference with commerce by robbery, discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, and felon in possession of a firearm.
- On May 14, 2018, after the attempted robbery, Romero-Lobato pointed a pistol at a victim’s head during an armed carjacking in Reno, and stole the victim’s car, wallet, and phone. He attempted to flee from law enforcement and led the police on a high speed chase before wrecking the stolen car. When the police apprehended Romero-Lobato, they recovered a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, which forensic analysis determined was the same firearm discharged in the March 4 robbery attempt. In a separate trial, on July 11, 2019, a jury found Romero-Lobato guilty of carjacking, use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and felon in possession of a firearm.
Romero-Lobato has a gross misdemeanor conviction for conspiracy to commit battery with a deadly weapon for stabbing a victim with a screwdriver, three felony convictions for unlawful reentry by a deported alien, and one felony conviction for eluding. As a convicted felon, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm.
The carjacking case was investigated by the Reno Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Megan Rachow and Steve Myhre. The attempted robbery case was investigated by the Sparks Police Department and the ATF; and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Megan Rachow and Penelope Brady.
These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a nationwide program by the Department of Justice that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, the Department announced the reinvigoration of PSN. For more information about PSN, visit www.justice.gov/usao-nv.