FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a single-count indictment today against Joel Jose Rueda, 29, of Fresno, charging him with escaping from federal custody, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, Rueda was convicted in federal court on April 2, 2021 of being a felon in possession of a firearm. In December 2021, he was transferred from the federal penitentiary in Mendota to the Turning Point Residential Reentry Center, a halfway house in Fresno, to complete the remainder of his prison sentence. On Jan. 18, 2022, he escaped from the halfway house. He was later arrested by law enforcement officers during a traffic stop on March 11, 2022, when he attempted to flee. He later admitted to resisting arrest charges in Fresno County Superior Court and was sentenced to 7 days, with credit for time served. He has been ordered detained on the escape charge and is next scheduled to appear in federal court for arraignment on the indictment on April 4, 2022.
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Marshals Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin Gilio and Karen Escobar are prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Rueda faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.