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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of California
For Immediate Release
Phillip A. Talbert, United States Attorney
www.justice.gov/usao-edca
Thursday, December 1, 2022

Temporary Resident in Yosemite National Park Facing Federal Charges

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a six-count indictment today against Devin Michael Cuellar, 28, a transient, charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, being a drug addict in possession of a sawed-off shotgun and ammunition, destruction of property, receipt of stolen property, theft, and making a false statement to Yosemite National Park rangers, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Cuellar, a convicted felon on parole, broke into a private residence at Koon Hollar Road in Wawona within Yosemite National Park and resided there without permission of the owner for several months during the summer of 2021. During that time, the residence was trashed, a toolbox, flat screen TV, wrought iron candle holders, tools, and other items were stolen from the residence, and items reported stolen from other victims in Wawona were found. A sawed-off shotgun with Cuellar’s DNA was found in the residence, along with ammunition. Cuellar is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition because he was previously convicted of carjacking and possessing controlled substances for sale and was an unlawful user of methamphetamine and heroin. In addition, Cuellar is alleged to have falsely stated to park rangers that he had not been at the residence.

This case is the product of an investigation by Yosemite National Park Service with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Forensic Services, and the Madera County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Cuellar faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the two firearms offenses. He also faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of destruction of property and false statements; three years in prison for receipt of stolen property and one year in custody for theft. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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