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Press Release

Armed Drug Dealer Pleads Guilty to Possessing a Firearm

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

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Virginia man pleaded guilty yesterday to possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

According to court documents, Leo Vaughn, 37, of Newport News, was found in possession of distribution quantities of marijuana and a large sum of cash during a routine traffic stop. When a search warrant was executed at his residence, law enforcement discovered several pounds of marijuana, more than $70,000 in cash and multiple firearms. 

Vaughn pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of life in prison when sentenced on October 2. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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 Michael K. Lamonea, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Norfolk, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan, Jr., accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric M. Hurt is prosecuting 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. 4:19-cr-21.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Communications

Updated May 15, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods