FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WEDNESDAY - January 21, 2009
CO-CONSPIRATORS PLEAD GUILTY TO ROBBERY SPREE
WILMINGTON - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court yesterday two defendants pled guilty before Senior United States District Judge James C. Fox for a spree of robberies that occurred between July 5, 2008 and July 9, 2008. RAPHEAL DAVONNE POWELL, 24, and DAVID MICHAEL WESLEY, Jr., 19, both pled to conspiring to commit Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951 and two counts of aiding and abetting the use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 924(c) and 2.
A Federal Grand Jury returned a Superseding Criminal Indictment on December 3, 2008. Between July 5, 2008, and July 9, 2008, POWELL AND WESLEY along with a third defendant, Samuel Keith Kerr, robbed several convenience stores and a Mexican restaurant. In all of the robberies, WESLEY and Kerr would enter the store with bandanas over their faces and long-sleeved hooded sweatshirts. WESLEY would be carrying a .380 handgun while Kerr took the cash drawer from the register. The stores included a Rite Aid Drug Store, the Stop 1 Market, the Lighthouse Food mart, and the Tienda Todo Guerrenrense Mexican Restaurant, all in Raleigh.
Kerr entered his guilty plea to the same charges last month.
Mr. Holding commented: "This case is another example of our effort to work closely with the Raleigh Police Department and ATF as we deal with the rising crime rate in Raleigh and especially with the increase in the robberies of local businesses. We believe our joint effort will see a reduction in the level of violent crime and robberies locally."
For the conspiracy charge, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison followed by up to three years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. For each count of the firearm charges, each defendant faces up to a life term of imprisonment consecutive to any other term of imprisonment posed followed by up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods which encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities.
Investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Raleigh Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Ethan Ontjes served as prosecutor for the government.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.