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Press Release

A New York man found guilty of firearms conspiracy and drug charges

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

CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Amanze Antoine, of Mt. Vernon, New York, was found guilty this week of three counts involving illegal firearms sales and cocaine distribution, United States Attorney Bill Powell announced.

After a three-day trial, a federal jury found Antoine, age 37, guilty of one count of “Conspiracy to Violate Federal Firearms Laws” one count of “Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine Base,” and one count of “Unlawful Possession of a Firearm.” Antoine recruited a group of individuals in Morgantown, West Virginia and elsewhere to create false documentation to purchase firearms, transported and sold the illegally obtained firearms from West Virginia to New York. He also distributed cocaine in Morgantown in May 2017. Antoine was previously convicted of two crimes in New York, prohibiting him from possessing a firearm.

“When firearms are combined with illegal drug distribution it is recipe for disaster. Thanks to the jury, our excellent prosecution team and law enforcement partners our communities are now safer with this verdict,” said Powell.

Antoine faces up to five years incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000 for the firearms conspiracy charge,  up to 20 years incarceration and a fine of up to $1,000,000 for the cocaine charge, and up to 10 years incarceration and fine of up to $250,000 for the illegal possession charge. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). Project Safe Neighborhoods 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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Zelda E. Wesley is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigated.

Senior U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley presided.

Updated December 14, 2018

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods