Courtroom gavel

POCATELLO – Rockit Rodriguez, 23, of Blackfoot, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 130 months in prison for carjacking and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced Tuesday in a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho.

U.S. District Judge David C. Nye also ordered Rodriguez to serve five years of supervised release following his prison sentence. Rodriguez pleaded guilty to the charge on Dec. 2, 2019.

On Feb. 3, co-defendant Antonio Ray Sesma-Lopez, 20, of Fort Hall was sentenced to 37 months in prison for carjacking, followed by three years of supervised release. Sesma-Lopez pleaded guilty to the charge on Oct. 22.

According to court records, in September 2018, Rodriguez was driving a vehicle containing Sesma-Lopez and a third individual on Riverton Road, at the overpass of Interstate 15, in Blackfoot. Rodriguez stopped the car on the overpass. A vehicle driving behind them stopped as well. Rodriguez and Sesma-Lopez exited their vehicle and approached the vehicle behind them. Rodriguez brandished a revolver and commanded the driver of the other vehicle to get out. The victim complied. Sesma-Lopez then directed the victim to give him his wallet, which the victim did. Rodriguez and Sesma-Lopez then fled in the victim’s vehicle.

This case was investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Blackfoot Police Department, Fort Hall Police Department, and Bingham County Sherriff’s Office.

This case was prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program. PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please visit: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.