Public Safety

Illinois man who fired shots at Dubuque club convicted on gun charge

CEDAR RAPIDS — An Illinois man who shot at the outside of a club in downtown Dubuque was convicted Tuesday in federal court for illegally having a gun while being a user of cocaine and marijuana.

Ricardo Sanchez, 32, of Forest City, Ill., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of controlled substances. During the plea hearing, Sanchez admitted he had a 9 mm pistol and at least nine rounds of ammunition in Dubuque last Nov. 27.He also admitted to using both cocaine and marijuana.

Evidence from a previous detention hearing shows Sanchez arrived at the club that day in the early morning. While inside the club, he argued with the owner and then left to retrieve something from his car, which is seen on traffic camera video.

Sanchez then returned to the outside of the club, which still was open with patrons inside, and fired a handgun toward the building multiple times, according to testimony at the hearing. Police recovered nine spent 9 mm shell casings from the area.

After shooting at the club, Sanchez returned to his vehicle and drove to Illinois. He was arrested Nov. 27 in Galena, Ill. Police recovered the 9 mm pistol from along the road outside Galena.

Sanchez faces up to 10 years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine. Sentencing before U.S. District Senior Judge Linda Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Sanchez remains in custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Morfitt and was investigated by the Dubuque and Galena police departments, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Office.

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This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program that historically has brought together various levels of law enforcement in an effort to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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