Semmes Resident Receives Five Years on Gun Charge
United States Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama announces today that Chief United States District Judge Kristi K. DuBose sentenced Brandon Earl Ashley, 30, a resident of Semmes, Alabama, to 60 months imprisonment for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The judge ordered that Ashley undergo five years of supervised release after finishing his term of imprisonment, pay a $100 mandatory special assessment, and receive substance abuse testing and treatment.
Ashley is a convicted felon with a criminal history involving drugs. For instance, on August 22, 2013 Ashley was convicted of Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Circuit Court of Mobile County, Alabama. Federal law prohibits convicted felons such as Ashley from knowingly possessing a firearm.
Ashley admitted certain facts as part of his guilty plea. According to those documents, on August 22, 2017, Spanish Fort Police Department Officer Shane Parker was on patrol traveling west on Battleship Parkway. He saw a vehicle driving over 80 mph eastward on the parkway. Parker tuned around to initiate a traffic stop for speeding. Parker noticed the vehicle turn into Keeton Corrections. The vehicle appeared to Parker as if it were trying to elude the stop due to the vehicle’s speed when it crossed over the westbound traffic lanes. Parker saw the vehicle park abruptly. When Parker stopped near the vehicle, the driver was walking away from it. Parker told the driver to return to his vehicle, which he did.
Parker approached the vehicle and smelled marijuana emanating from the vehicle. Ashley was the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle. Parker searched the vehicle for marijuana. While searching the driver's side area, Parker found a loaded Taurus 9mm pistol under the seat. When Parker opened the back doors of the vehicle, he saw numerous bags of marijuana and a small bag of pills in plain view. Ashley possessed approximately $2,420.01 in cash. In the vehicle, police found a digital scale, multiple cell phones, and drugs, namely, cocaine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, amphetamine, alprazolam, fentanyl, marijuana, and methorphan. Police later determined that the Taurus firearm was stolen.
On December 27, 2017, a federal grand jury for the Southern District of Alabama returned a five-count indictment against Ashley, charging him with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, three counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. On March 22, 2018, Ashley pleaded guilty before Chief Judge DuBose to possessing the Taurus pistol in furtherance of the crime of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Spanish Fort Police Department investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Sinan Kalayoglu prosecuted the case.