A man who possessed a loaded revolver was sentenced March 3, 2021, to more than eight years in federal prison.
Obed Lopez-Castillo, age 29, from Sioux City, Iowa, received the prison term after an August 19, 2020, guilty plea to being a felon and domestic abuse misdemeanant in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Lopez-Castillo was previously convicted of felony and domestic abuse crimes which made it illegal for him to possess a gun.
Evidence at Lopez-Castillo’s detention, change of plea, and sentencing hearings revealed that on January 13, 2020, he was stopped by police for not using his headlights. The stopping officer identified Lopez-Castillo as the driver of the vehicle, and determined that Lopez-Castillo did not have a valid driver’s license. During the traffic stop, Lopez-Castillo stated he did not have any weapons on his person. However, officers located a loaded .22 caliber revolver in his waistband.
Lopez-Castillo admitted he was a felon, and stated that he knew that it was illegal for him to possess a firearm. He also stated that he was, or had been, a member of a street gang, was a daily marijuana user and was an occasional methamphetamine user.
Lopez-Castillo was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand. Lopez-Castillo was sentenced to 102 months’ imprisonment. He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.
Lopez-Castillo is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
This case is also 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 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives 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 our Project Guardian partners. For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/ag/page/file/1217186/download.
The case was investigated by the Sioux City, Iowa Police Department and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Forde Fairchild.
Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
The case file number is 20-4010.
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