HOUSTON – US Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery announced federal charges and indictments against 19 people, including the man accused of shooting three Houston police officers during a police chase on Jan. 27, during a news conference on the possession of illegal firearms in the Houston area.
In the indictment, Roland Cabellero is charged with carjacking, discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, possession of a machine gun and felon in possession with a firearm. He faces a minimum of 30 years to life in the federal penitentiary.
“The charges announced today are a sobering reminder of the dangers faced every day by law enforcement officers around this country,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “The defendant allegedly shot and wounded three HPD officers with a pistol that was converted into a machine gun. The Department of Justice is focused on taking violent criminals off the street and doing so by working side by side with our state and local law enforcement partners.”
Lowery, who was joined by Houston Police Department Chief Troy Finner, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Marshals Office; said the charges come during a pivotal time in the city.
“Not all firearms are illegal, but we want to ensure those with violent felony records and who violate the federal law and have unlawfully modified Glock switches or fully automated switches are taken off the streets. We want to make our streets safer,” Lowery said.
In addition to the charges against Cabellero, 19 other people will also face federal indictments for felons in possession of a firearm, and some that have possessed fully automatic switches that convert a semi-automatic to a fully automatic.
“These cases range from someone who took a pistol with an automatic switch attached to it into a retail store in our city, someone who had one out in front of a club over on Washington, to someone who had one protecting his drugs,” Lowery said.
If convicted of unlawful possession of an unregistered machine gun, possession of a machine gun, or felon in possession face up to 10 years in federal prison. All charges also carry a possible $250,000 maximum fine, upon conviction.
Fred Milanowski, Special Agent in Charge of Houston Field Division for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), said the majority of the illegal firearms or weapons known as “Glock switches” are being manufactured outside of the United States and being illegally imported.
According to Milanowski, the Glock switches are being manufactured in China and then imported to Mexico and then the U.S., or sold online.