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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of California
Phillip A. Talbert, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Monday, May 15, 2023

Yosemite National Park Squatter Pleads Guilty to Firearms Charges

FRESNO, Calif. — Devin Michael Cuellar, 29, a transient, pleaded guilty today to being a felon in possession of a sawed-off shotgun and ammunition, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, during the summer of 2021, Cuellar broke into a private residence on Koon Hollar Road in Wawona within Yosemite National Park and resided there for several months without permission of the owner. Cuellar possessed a sawed-off shotgun and ammunition that were found in the residence. Cuellar was previously convicted of carjacking and possessing controlled substances for sale and is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition.

This case is the product of an investigation by the 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.

Cuellar is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on Sept. 5, 2023. Cuellar faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will 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.

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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