A man from Desert Hot Springs arrested during a multi-agency anti-gang operation in the Coachella Valley this summer was convicted in federal court Thursday on firearm and methamphetamine charges.
Mario Vincent Lopez, 49, is one of six men charged following their capture during Operation Desert Impact, a major anti-gang operation that had federal and local authorities knocking on doors during the predawn hours of June 16, and led to the arrest of around two dozen suspected gang members.
Lopez, convicted for possession of an unregistered short-barreled shotgun, being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and distributing methamphetamine, faces a mandatory minimum 10-year federal prison sentence and possible life imprisonment.
He is slated to be sentenced on Feb. 13. “Illegal firearms and drug trafficking is a volatile combination that poses a significant danger to the community,” United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker said. “This defendant was undeterred by his prior felony convictions, but now he faces a much longer prison sentence as a result of this jury’s verdicts.”
Federal firearm possession and drug charges were also filed against Julio Cesar Gomez, 31, of Indio; Angel Alejandro Carmona, 30, of Coachella; Steven Andrew Gonzalez, 32, of Indio; Francisco Remigio Figueroa, 34, of Desert Hot Springs, and Donnie Darnel Dennis, 38, of Desert Hot Springs.
All the men were set for trials early next year.