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Trafficking meth with firearm lands felon back in prison

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A Texas Syndicate gang member has been ordered to federal prison for possessing a semi-automatic handgun in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime and possession with intent to distribute meth, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Benjamin Govella, 42, Corpus Christi, pleaded guilty May 4.

Today, U.S. District Judge Drew B. Tipton ordered him to serve a 72-month sentence for the meth trafficking. He also received an additional 60 months for the firearms charge which must be served consecutively to the other sentence imposed. Following the 132-month term of imprisonment, Govella must also serve three years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard how authorities had originally conducted a traffic stop in early 2020. They subsequently arrested him on a parole violation and for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The investigation revealed the Sig Sauer 9mm semi-automatic pistol had been stolen. Govella had also discussed drug trafficking while he was in jail.

On Nov. 18, 2020, authorities executed a federal arrest warrant on Govella, who was riding a bicycle near an apartment complex in Corpus Christi. At that time, he possessed a backpack containing a Ruger SR9C 9mm pistol and nearly 50 grams of pure meth as well as two loaded magazines and a scale.

Govella will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Corpus Christi Police Department (CCPD) conducted the investigation with the assistance of the CCPD Narcotics Vice Investigations Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Manning prosecuted the case.