ALBANY — A man previously convicted of attempted murder in West Virginia was sentenced to five years, 6 months in prison Thursday in an Amsterdam gun possession case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Nelson Rodriguez, 39, of Amsterdam, pleaded guilty previously to one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and possession of a firearm by a felon, officials said.
He admitted to selling crack cocaine in Amsterdam and to possessing a .25-caliber handgun to protect his drugs and drug proceeds, prosecutors said.
Senior U.S. District Judge Gary L. Sharpe imposed the total 66-month sentence. Rodriguez is also to serve five years of supervised release.
The handgun was discovered under Rodriguez’ mattress as police searched the residence with a warrant in August 2017. The handgun was loaded with nine rounds of ammunition, according to his plea agreement.
Authorities also found six grams of crack cocaine in a jacket pocket in a closet, 40 individually wrapped packages of the drug in a dresser drawer and $2,000 in cash in another jacket pocket, prosecutors said.
Police investigated Rodriguez through that summer. He admitted he distributed the drug from June until August 2017 and conspired with others to do so, according to his plea agreement.
After two sales with a co-conspirator, police followed Rodriguez back to his apartment on Park Street in Amsterdam. Police then raided the residence Aug. 3, 2017.
Rodriguez was previously convicted of attempted murder in Berkeley County, West Virginia, and was sentenced to one to three years in prison, according to the plea agreement. In the West Virginia case, Rodriguez was accused of shooting a man in the lower torso with a 9 mm handgun, according to a 2008 report in nearby Hagerstown Herald-Mail. He was arrested in that case in November 2008 in New York City, according to the report.
The local case was investigated by the Amsterdam Police Department and federal ATF agents and was prosecuted by assistant U.S. Attorney Cyrus P.W. Rieck.