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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 11, 2019

Portsmouth Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Violent Racketeering Conspiracy

NORFOLK, Va. – A Portsmouth man pleaded guilty today for his role in a violent racketeering conspiracy and other related firearm charges.

According to court documents, Timothy Sawyer-House, aka “Trouble”, 28, was a member of a Portsmouth-based “line” of the Nine Trey Gangsters (NTG), a gang affiliated with the United Blood Nation. In March 2014, Sawyer-House was in a vehicle with a fellow gang member who opened fire and murdered 23-year old Portsmouth resident, Delante Eley. 

As a member of the NTG, Sawyer-House also sold narcotics and firearms on multiple occasions to a confidential informant who was working for the FBI.

Sawyer-House pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and possessing a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. Sawyer-House faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum term of life in prison when he is sentenced on October 23. 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.

The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Operation Billy Club. The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, and Angela Greene, Chief of Portsmouth Police, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Raymond A Jackson accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John F. Butler, Andrew C. Bosse, and Joseph E. DePadilla 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. 2:19-cr-36.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated July 11, 2019