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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Connecticut
For Immediate Release
Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney
Friday, October 20, 2023

Federal Jury Finds Shelton Man Guilty of Unlawful Possession of Assault Rifle and Ammunition in Waterbury

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal jury in New Haven has found Miguel Rivera, also known as “Macho,” 31, of Shelton, guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition by a felon.

A trial before U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall began on October 17 and the jury returned its verdict yesterday afternoon.

According to the evidence presented during the trial, in the early morning hours of July 5, 2020, Waterbury Police officers responded to a shots-fired complaint in the area of William Street and Laurel Street in Waterbury. When officers arrived on William Street, Rivera, who was wearing a body armor vest, attempted to flee by climbing over a fence. Rivera was subsequently apprehended, and a search of the area from which he had run revealed a Romarm/Cugir, AK Type Model, 7.62 x 39mm caliber, semi-automatic rifle containing a fully-loaded 30-round magazine. Rivera also possessed one round of ammunition in his pocket.

Rivera’s criminal history includes convictions for felony firearm, robbery and burglary offenses. It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.

At sentencing, which is not scheduled, Rivera faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.

It is alleged that on June 21, 2022, while he was released on bond and awaiting trial in this case, Rivera unlawfully possessed a stolen 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition and two Kevlar bullet proof vests. He has been detained since July 13, 2022, and additional charges are pending in federal court.

U.S. Attorney Avery stressed that a charge is only an allegation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Waterbury Police Department and the Connecticut State Police. These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Natasha M. Freismuth and Patricia Stolfi Collins through Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), 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 works 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.


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