AP

July 4 shooting plot suspect pleads to immigration charge

Aug 25, 2022, 3:33 PM | Updated: 5:02 pm

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Guatemalan immigrant whom police accused of helping to plot a mass shooting in Virginia’s capital on July 4 pleaded guilty Thursday to an immigration charge.

A federal judge accepted Rolman Balcarcel-Bavagas’ plea to a charge of reentering the U.S. after deportation and set sentencing for Nov. 10, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Balcarcel-Bavagas, 38, faces up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Neither Balcarcel-Bavagas nor a co-defendant, Julio Alvarado-Dubon, have been charged in direct connection with the alleged plot, and a federal prosecutor made no mention of it Thursday, according to the newspaper.

At a July 6 news conference, police said an Independence Day shooting had been thwarted and announced the men’s arrest. Chief Gerald Smith said a “hero citizen” contacted police after overhearing a conversation about an attack being planned.

Officers seized two assault rifles, a handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition from the home where police said the men lived.

The U.S. Attorney’s office took over the case earlier this month at the request of Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin.

According to the government’s statement of facts in Balcarcel-Bavagas’ immigration case, he is a Guatemalan citizen residing illegally in the U.S. who was previously removed twice from the country. He was allowed to depart voluntarily in 2013 and then deported in 2014, according to the court documents.

Alvarado-Dubon has been charged with possession of a firearm by a non-U.S. citizen. Court records do not indicate when he will next be in court.

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July 4 shooting plot suspect pleads to immigration charge