Firearms and Narcotics Trafficker Sentenced to Prison
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia
RICHMOND, Va. – A Petersburg man was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for trafficking narcotics and firearms.
“Armon Lee trafficked 21 firearms, including some that had obliterated serial numbers, to a felon he knew was prohibited from possessing them,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Lee knew that the guns were being sold for a nefarious purpose, and obliterated a number of serial numbers in an attempt to impede law enforcement’s ability to trace the firearms back to him. This successful investigation and prosecution is a testament to our terrific partnership with the ATF, and a reflection of our commitment to aggressively pursuing firearms traffickers in the Eastern District.”
According to court documents, Armon Lee, 26, was charged in a criminal indictment with seventeen counts of sale or disposal of firearms to a convicted felon and with distribution of “crack” cocaine between May 2018 and August 2018. In all, Lee trafficked 21 firearms to a felon who he knew was prohibited from possessing firearms. Four of the firearms that Lee sold had been previously reported stolen; seven of the firearms Lee trafficked were high capacity firearms in that each was capable of holding more than 15 rounds of ammunition; two of the firearms Lee sold had their serial numbers obliterated. The criminal indictment also charged Lee with four counts of distribution or aiding and abetting in the distribution of “crack” cocaine. In July 2018, Lee pleaded guilty to three of the counts set forth in the indictment, and was held responsible not only for illegally trafficking 21 firearms, but also for the distribution of more than 50 grams of cocaine base, commonly known as “crack.”
“Lee thought he could operate under the radar in Petersburg and evade detection. He was wrong,” said Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division. “ATF is putting all criminals engaged in firearms and narcotics trafficking on notice that we will continue to work with other law enforcement agencies, such as the Petersburg Police Department, to see to it that these dangerous individuals are brought to justice and held accountable under the law for their crimes. No longer will they threaten the safety and wellbeing of innocent citizens.”
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 Kenneth A. Miller, Director of Public Safety, Petersburg Bureau of Police, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson. Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Mastandrea-Miller 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. 3:19-cr-037.
Director of Public Affairs
Updated October 11, 2019
Project Safe Neighborhoods