FALL RIVER — A 38-year-old New Bedford man apprehended last year with an illegal firearm and ammunition was sentenced to serve three-and-a-half to five years in state prison, District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

Juan Rosario pleaded guilty last week in Fall River Superior Court to a two-count indictment, charging him with carrying an illegal firearm (subsequent offense) and carrying a loaded illegal firearm.

The case is the result of a motor vehicle stop in the city of New Bedford on June 20, 2016 at approximately 1:20 pm. The stop was based solely on a tip from an ATF Agent. The agent reported to New Bedford Police’s Gang Unit that a male was looking to sell a firearm. The male was described as Hispanic with short hair, wearing a gray t-shirt, and driving a red Trailblazer with a specific registration. That plate was run by police and led them to 357 Ashley Boulevard.

Surveillance began at that location, with the vehicle parked off-street in a lot adjacent to the registered owner address. While surveilling the area, police observed a Hispanic male with short hair and a gray t-shirt walk out of a rear door at 357 Ashley Boulevard and through a hole in the fence. The male got into the Trailblazer and began to drive away. The vehicle was subsequently stopped, and the operator is observed to match the description given by the ATF Agent. The operator was approached at gunpoint and ordered to place his hands in view. He complied and advised police there was a gun in the car. A 9mm illegal firearm was recovered from the driver's side door pocket, which contained 14 rounds in the magazine.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Robert Digiantomaso, and the state prison sentence was handed down by Judge Thomas McGuire.

“This case highlights the benefits of cooperation between the ATF and the New Bedford Police Department. Thanks to this cooperative effort, another illegal gun has been taken off the streets that could have been used to inflict serious harm to someone,” District Attorney Quinn said. “It is very concerning that 14 rounds were found in the magazine of the gun. This can result in the type of senseless violence that negatively impacts our communities and is simply unacceptable. It is also worth noting that the defendant had a prior conviction for carrying an illegal firearm.”

--Bristol County District Attorney's Office