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Press Release

Armed Cocaine Dealer Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. – A Richmond man was sentenced today to five years in prison for possession with intent to distribute cocaine and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

“Armed drug traffickers pose serious threats to the safety of law abiding people,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Dowd carried a firearm and dealt drugs from his home in Creighton Court, an area of Richmond long plagued by drug trafficking and one that has the full attention of this office and our law enforcement partners. We are 100 percent committed to doing our part so that all can live in as crime free a neighborhood as possible, and will continue to devote law enforcement resources to similar areas of need around the City of Richmond and across the Eastern District of Virginia.”

According to court documents, Cleveland Dowd, 37, was under surveillance by the Richmond Police Department in the Creighton Court area as part of a narcotics investigation. These observations prompted law enforcement to conduct controlled purchases of crack cocaine from Dowd in his home on April 13 and April 26, 2018. Following those controlled purchases, officers executed a search warrant and found more than 100 grams of powdered cocaine, multiple ounces of marijuana, $40,000 in cash, and a 9mm firearm. Dowd admitted to all of the drugs, cash, and gun, and admitted that he intended to “cook” the powdered cocaine into crack cocaine prior to selling it. Dowd had been previously convicted of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, a felony, and was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

“Dowd’s conviction and lengthy prison time should send a strong message to the violent criminals operating in this district and elsewhere in Virginia,” said Ashan Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Washington Field Division. “We will do everything in our power to bring to justice these perpetrators and restore some quality of life to the citizens of the neighborhoods where they operate.”

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen E. Anthony prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:18-cr-106.


Contact: Joshua Stueve
Director of Communications

Updated April 5, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses