RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A suspect accused by Richmond authorities of plotting a mass shooting pled guilty in federal court Thursday to one count of illegal re-entry.
Rolman Balcarcel-Bavagas, 38, was charged with re-entering the United States illegally. He was never charged with any mass shooting-related charges.
Balcarcel’s plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge M. Hannah Lauck. There was no plea agreement, but instead a five-page statement of facts, which was entered into the record.
At the end of the hearing, Judge Lauck remarked on the expediency of the proceedings from both sides.
“Everybody’s doing this as fast as they can,” Lauck said. “Faster than normal.”
Balcarcel is now facing a maximum of two years behind bars and a fine of up to $250,000.
“We don’t know exactly where this whole notion of a mass shooting ever came from,” 8News legal analyst Russ Stone said. “It could’ve come from a tipster. It could’ve just been speculation on the part of some of the people involved in this. We honestly don’t know the answer to this, and the charge that is in federal court right now doesn’t tell us anything either.”
Judge Lauck explained that a pre-sentence report will be compiled by the Probation Office, which will determine the sentencing guidelines. His sentencing is set for Nov. 10, at 11 a.m.
Until then, Balcarcel will continue to be held by the U.S. Marshals Service.
According to documents obtained by 8News, authorities received a tip that Rolman Balcarcel was “going to do a mass shooting on July 4th.” The tip was received on Friday, July 1. The documents further stated, “The witness who gave the tip advised that the defendant [Balcarcel] showed high power rifles.”
Staff at the Consulate General of Guatemala in Maryland confirmed to 8News that both Balcarcel and 52-year-old Julio Cesar Alvarado-Dubon were originally from the Baja Verapaz in Guatemala. They also stated that the suspects were apprehended on July 2 and 3, despite RPD’s reports that they were taken into custody on July 1 and 5.
Moreover, sources confirmed to 8News that Balcarcel used an alias, which is what appears on official court documentation from the City of Richmond. While court papers show that the suspect’s name is Rolman Alberto Balcarcel, federal sources stated that his name is actually Rolman Balcarcel Ac.
Balcarcel had previously been deported twice; once in 2013 and once in 2014. While Balcarcel was originally charged at the state level with possession of a firearm as a non-United States citizen, his federal charge has been strictly immigration-related.