Defendant Repeatedly & Illegally Entered the U.S. & Engaged in Violent Crime & Drug Trafficking

NASHVILLE – Franklin Pineda-Caceras, aka “Bomba,” 22, of Honduras, was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in federal prison for drug distribution and firearms crimes, announced U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Middle District of Tennessee. 

Pineda-Caceras, an MS-13 Gang member, was initially charged in July 2019 with immigration violations, drug trafficking, and firearms violations, after previously being deported from the U.S.  He later pleaded guilty to illegal reentry of a previously deported alien; being an illegal alien in possession of ammunition; being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm; possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number; and possession of marijuana and cocaine with the intent to distribute.  Pineda-Caceras proceeded to trial on the charge of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime and was found guilty by a federal jury on February 9, 2022.

According to records filed with the Court, Pineda-Caceras unlawfully entered the United States in January 2014 and was deported in June 2016.  Immigration officials later learned that Pineda-Caceras had returned to the United States when they found him, in October 2017, in a residence in Nashville, with digital scales, 41 grams of cocaine, over 44 grams of marijuana, numerous handguns, an assault rifle, and an arsenal of ammunition. Pineda-Caceras was again deported in May 2018.

In January 2019, approximately seven months after his second deportation, Pineda-Caceras returned to the United States and committed a violent crime, when he kidnapped a student from a local area high school and beat the student after the student refused to join the MS-13 street gang. In July 2019, when agents attempted to arrest Pineda-Caceras for this crime, he fled from the police and drove his car through the front yard, where his girlfriend, son, and his girlfriend’s mother stood, nearly striking all three.

Approximately two months later, in September 2019, Pineda-Caceras was involved in a car accident and sustained injuries as a result. Items observed at the scene, and later seized during a search of his car, established that he was involved in drug trafficking. Specifically, when agents searched the car, they found digital scales, baggies, bags of cocaine packaged for resale, a revolver with an obliterated serial number, an AK-47 rifle, and approximately 200 rounds of ammunition. Agents also recovered numerous cellular telephones, which later revealed that Pineda-Caceras was selling drugs in the hours leading up to the crash.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; Homeland Security Investigations; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Ahmed Safeeullah and Trial Attorney Matthew Hoff of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section prosecuted the case. 

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.