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Press Release

Henderson Co. Man Sentenced For Firearms Related Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Today, U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced a Hendersonville, N.C. man to 60 months in prison and three years of supervised release on firearms related offenses, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. In June 2014, a federal jury convicted Warren Rosslyn Newell, 49, of two counts of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.

C.J. Hyman, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Charlotte Field Division and Sheriff Charles S. McDonald of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office join U.S. Attorney Rose in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court documents and evidence presented at Newell’s trial, on July 30, 2013, law enforcement conducted a traffic stop of Newell’s vehicle and determined he was driving with a suspended license.  During the same traffic stop, law enforcement also recovered from Newell a non-functioning .22 caliber apparatus (commonly referred to as a “pen gun”), which was loaded with one round of .22 caliber ammunition.  Law enforcement also found in the trunk of Newell’s car his backpack, which contained a black mask, gloves, ligatures, and five knives.  Following Newell’s arrest, law enforcement retrieved another round of .22 caliber ammunition from his pocket. According to court records, Newell’s prior convictions in Texas and South Carolina prohibit him from possessing a firearm and/or ammunition. 

According to trial evidence and witness testimony, Newell told law enforcement that he needed the pen gun for protection, because he frequently worked for drug dealers as a debt enforcer.  According to evidence presented at trial, Newell told law enforcement that because of his reputation after serving 17 years in the Texas prison system, those who owed money to drug dealers usually agreed to make a payment without delay.  Newell also told law enforcement that he used the items inside the backpack in connection with collecting on the drug debts.  

“We are grateful for the excellent investigative work by the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office and ATF,” said U.S Attorney Rose.  “While Newell’s ultimate plans are unknown, what is clear is that he was in possession of the means and mechanisms to engage in unlawful conduct.  His sentence today reflects the seriousness of his crimes.” 

“ATF is committed to actively investigating and apprehending criminals who illegally acquire firearms or use firearms to commit violent crimes.  We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners in the Carolinas to keep our communities safe,” said Special Agent in Charge Hyman.   

“While I certainly support the right of law abiding citizens to own and carry firearms, convicted felons have lost that right as a result of their life choices. I applaud the work of our Henderson County Sheriff’s Office investigators, ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office as we partner to minimize criminal activity in our community,” stated Chief McDonald.  

Newell will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.  All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.   

The investigation was handled by ATF and the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Richard Edwards of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville.

Updated March 22, 2016