Drug Dealer Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Newport News man pleaded guilty today to possession of a firearm by felon.
According to court documents, Roosevelt Byrd, 46, was suspected of distributing narcotics in downtown Newport News. After being approached by police officers, Byrd fled on foot and discarded a small bag later discovered to contain “crack” cocaine. Once apprehended, Byrd told law enforcement that he had recently purchased a firearm and that he kept it in his residence. Police obtained written consent to search Byrd’s residence and located the firearm exactly as Byrd described it.
Byrd pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when sentenced on August 12. Due to Byrd’s criminal history, he may qualify him as an armed career criminal and thus face a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years to life in prison. 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, Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, and Steve R. Drew, Chief of Newport News Police, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter G. Osyf 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-33.