News and Press Releases


January 25, 2012

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - William R. Richmond-Hairston, 25, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was sentenced to serve 12 and a half years (151 months) in prison for possessing a firearm as a felon and for possessing with intent to distribute marijuana, U.S. Attorney Donald A. Davis announced today. The Honorable Paul Maloney, Chief U.S. District Judge, presided over the sentencing.

On September 1, 2010, Grand Rapids Police Officers pulled-over Richmond-Hairston’s Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) for a routine traffic violation. In the course of discussing the violation with Richmond-Hairston, the officers smelled marijuana and then saw a handgun on the floorboards at Richmond-Hairston’s feet. After the officers secured Richmond-Hairston and retrieved the handgun, which was loaded, they discovered about five pounds of marijuana in the car and $5,000 in cash in Richmond-Hairston’s pockets and a back-pack. Richmond-Hairston confessed and later pled guilty to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and to possessing the marijuana with the intent of distributing it. Richmond-Hairston faced a stiff penalty in federal court because he had twice before been convicted of felony drug trafficking offenses in state court, which qualified him as a “career offender” within the meaning of the federal sentencing guidelines.

This case was brought as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (“PSN”) initiative. PSN links federal, state, and local law enforcement in a coordinated effort to deter gun violence and prosecute serious gun crimes in federal court. In this instance, the Grand Rapids Police and Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew B. Birge prosecuted it.


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