Felon gets 5 1/2 years for gun

AMSTERDAM — The city resident who pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and possessing a firearm as a felon was sentenced to five and a half years in prison.

According to a news release, the announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith, Amsterdam Police Chief Gregory Culick and Special Agent in Charge John B. DeVito of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Nelson Rodriguez, 39, was arrested in August 2017 and indicted on the charges of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree possession of a weapon, fifth-degree possession of marijuana, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and criminal use of drug paraphernalia.

In March he pleaded guilty to counts three and four of the indictment, possession of firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and possession of a firearm by a felon, and counts one and two of the indictment — the two drug charges — were dropped.

Rodriguez who was also convicted of attempted murder in 2009, admitted to selling cocaine base — crack — in Amsterdam and to possessing a .25 caliber handgun to protect his drugs and drug proceeds.

According to the release, the handgun was discovered under Rodriguez’s mattress during the execution of a search warrant at his Amsterdam apartment in August 2017. Along with the handgun, law enforcement seized six grams of crack, 40 individually-wrapped packages of crack and $2,000.

Senior United States District Judge Gary L. Sharpe also imposed a 5-year term of supervised release, to be served after Rodriguez’s release from prison.

This case was investigated by the Amsterdam Police Department and ATF, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyrus P.W. Rieck.