Rochester Man Convicted at Trial of Drug Trafficking and Firearms Possession
ROCHESTER, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Preston Clements, 22, of Rochester, N.Y., was convicted of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, maintaining a drug related premises, and possession of a firearm in the furtherance of the drug distribution activity following a jury trial before U.S. District Judge Frank Geraci, Jr. The charges carry a minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $250,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles E. Moynihan, who handled the prosecution of the case, stated that on February 23, 2011, the Rochester Police Department responded to 166 Atkinson Street after receiving a call for suspicious activity at that location. Upon arrival, officers became concerned that the house was being burglarized and, through a window to Apartment #1, observed a firearm laying on a bed. Officers entered the residence and discovered marijuana which turned out to be 41 bags packaged for sale. Officers also located a digital scale common to drug trafficking as well as cash.
Further, officers found the defendant hiding in an attic apartment on the third floor of the building along with a woman identified as his girlfriend. Clements was arrested and questioned regarding the firearm and drugs located in Apartment #1. During the interview, the defendant admitted to selling the marijuana out of Apartment #1 and admitted to possessing the firearm for protection.
During the trial, the defendant testified that he in fact sold marijuana as he had previously stated, but denied possessing the firearm recovered by officers. The defendant added that he does not like firearms and that while he was aware that the firearm was present that night, it was not his and he had no intention of possessing or using it.
Following his conviction, the defendant was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service at which time a bag of suspected marijuana was found in Clements' pocket.
The conviction is the result of an investigation by the Firearms Suppression Unit, composed of law enforcement personnel from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives under the direction of Resident Agent in Charge Scott Heagney and the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief James M. Sheppard.
Sentencing is scheduled for July 11, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. before Judge Geraci.