Fresno Man Pleads Guilty to Escape

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

FRESNO, Calif. —Joel Jose Rueda, 29, of Fresno, pleaded guilty today to escaping from the custody of the Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Rueda had been serving a federal sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm when he escaped from federal custody in December 2021. He was later arrested by Fresno police officers following a traffic stop on March 11, 2021. During the stop, he attempted to flee and resisted arrest. After pleading guilty in Fresno County Superior Court to resisting the officers’ arrest, he was brought to federal court to face an escape charge and quickly entered his guilty plea.

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.

Rueda is scheduled for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on Sept. 9, 2022. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will 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.

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