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Press Release

Man Pleads Guilty to Heroin and Firearms Crimes

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

NORFOLK, Va. – A Portsmouth man pleaded guilty today to possession with intent to distribute heroin and possessing a gun.

According to court documents, Jameel Malik Simmons, 37, was observed by various Chesapeake police officers selling heroin to a customer outside of his apartment. After the police arrested Simmons, they obtained a search warrant for his residence and found more heroin and a loaded firearm in a kitchen cabinet.

Simmons pleaded guilty to possession of heroin with the intent to distribute and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and maximum sentence of life in prison when sentenced on November 7. 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 Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorneys William D. Muhr and William B. Jackson are 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. 2:18-cr-138.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Public Affairs

Updated August 5, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods