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Press Release

Rochester Man Sentenced To Prison After Jury Convicts Him Of Gun And Drug Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Sofonzia Mack, 37, of Rochester, NY, who was convicted following a jury trial of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and being a felon in possession of a handgun and ammunition, was sentenced to serve 36 months in prison by U.S. District Judge David G. Larimer. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew T. McGrath and Charles E. Moynihan, who handled the trial of the case, stated that on March 28, 2017, Rochester Police officers stopped a blue Kia Sedona in the 800 block of Exchange Street in Rochester after seeing the driver commit multiple violations of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law. As officers approached the vehicle, they smelled what they believed to be marijuana coming from inside. The driver and the defendant, who was in the front passenger seat, were directed to get out of the vehicle so officers could further investigate the smell. 

While searching the defendant, officers found a .25 caliber, semiautomatic pistol in Mack’s jacket pocket.  Officers could see the serial number on the firearm had been defaced and that it was loaded with four rounds of ammunition. Officers also seized 21 plastic vials containing marijuana in a draw-string bag, which the defendant had secured over his shoulder at the time of the stop, and over $900 in United States currency located in the center console.    

On July 30, 2007, in Albany County Court, the defendant was convicted of Attempted Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree and sentenced to serve three years in prison. As a result, Mack was legally prohibited from possessing a gun. 

In addition to convicting defendant of the aforementioned charges, the jury found Mack not guilty of two other gun charges.

The matter was brought by the United States Attorney’s Office as part of its Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative. PSN 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.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief La’Ron Singletary, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge John B. DeVito, New York Field Division.

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Updated January 9, 2020

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses