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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Terrell Wright Pleads Guilty To Multiple Charges For Pointing A Gun At Two Syracuse Gang Task Force Detectives

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK - United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian, announces that TERRELL WRIGHT, age 29, of Syracuse, pled guilty today in U.S. District Court in Syracuse to the Indictment, which charged him with: (1) assaulting two detectives from the Syracuse Gang Violence Task Force (“GVTF”) (Count One); (2) use and carry of a handgun during the assault (Count Two); and (3) being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun (Count Three).

As part of his plea WRIGHT admitted the following facts:

On Tuesday, December 18, 2012, Syracuse Police detectives Melvin DeBottis and Timothy Galanaugh were both federally deputized members of the Syracuse Gang Violence Task Force ("GVTF"). At approximately 12:50 p.m. that day, while engaged in the performance of their official duties, DeBottis and Galanaugh were driving in a government-issued vehicle when they observed Person A, a suspected East Side gang member, walking westbound in the 1600 block of East Fayette Street in Syracuse, New York with his brother, the defendant. Because Person A was suspected of being involved in a shooting the night before, the detectives decided to stop and talk with him. As they were pulling their vehicle to the curb, they observed the defendant pull a small, black semi-automatic handgun from his waistband and point it at DeBottis and Galanaugh. DeBottis and Gallanaugh both drew their handguns as they got out of the car and advanced towards the defendant and Person A shouting "drop the gun." At that point, Person A was subdued and the defendant ran off. A chase ensued and the defendant was found hiding in a plastic deck box a few minutes later. The gun in question, a Glock model 27, .40 caliber handgun, with a laser sight, was recovered on the ground a few feet from where the defendant had pointed it at DeBottis and Galanaugh.

During his plea allocution, WRIGHT admitted under oath that he has never had a job and he made his money by selling drugs on the streets of Syracuse.

WRIGHT faces the following maximum penalties at sentencing, which is scheduled for March 10, 2014:

Count One: Up to 20 years imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, and up to a $250,000 fine;

Count Two: At least seven years imprisonment that must run consecutive to any sentence on Counts One and Three, followed by three years of supervised release, and up to a $250,000 fine;

Count Three: Up to 10 years imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, and up to a $250,000 fine;

WRIGHT acknowledged that he has two prior felony drug convictions and was currently on parole from the second conviction. Thus, he qualifies as a Career Offender under the federal sentencing guidelines and he will face greater punishment.

Further questions or inquiries may be directed to Assistant U.S. Attorney John M. Katko, who is prosecuting the case, at (315) 448-0916.

Updated January 29, 2015