City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, University of Virginia Become Project Safe Neighborhoods Communities
Danville, VIRGINIA – United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced today the guilty plea of Keemo Jonathan Lee to a series of federal drug and gun charges related to the sale of cocaine, heroin and illegal firearms. The prosecution comes as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative to reduce violent crime throughout the Western District of Virginia.
Today in U.S. District Court in Danville, Lee, 23, pleaded guilty without the benefit of a plea agreement to all seven charges returned in a February 28, 2018 federal indictment. Those charges include three counts of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, two counts of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute heroin and two counts of sale of a firearm to a prohibited person that is an unlawful user of a controlled substance.
“As today’s guilty plea indicates, our office is committed to working with our federal, state, and local partners to make Danville a safer community,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated. “Project Safe Neighborhoods is taking root in Danville, and I am confident that this vital law-enforcement initiative will succeed.”
According to a statement of facts read into the record at today’s hearing, should the matter have gone to trial the United States would have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that on multiple occasions officers with the Danville Police Department, utilizing a confidential source, made controlled purchases of cocaine, heroin, and illegal firearms from Lee.
One such controlled purchase, on June 29, 2017, was conducted at a gas station 326 feet from Danville Community College and 908 feet from Grove Park Preschool’s playground. During the June 29, 2017 controlled buy, Lee sold a confidential source 3.2 grams of cocaine and a Smith & Wesson M&P .40 Shield handgun, with ammunition, for $500.
On July 25, 2017, during another controlled purchase, Lee sold a confidential source .5003 grams of cocaine and a SCCY CPX-1 handgun for $400. After Lee changed locations for the transaction multiple times, the exchange ultimately took place 726 feet from Danville Community College.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Danville Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Special Assistant United States Attorney Rachel Swartz and Assistant United States Attorney Heather L. Carlton are prosecuting the case for the United States.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a federal program designed to bring together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting each community’s most violent criminals. Attorney General Sessions directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, and local law enforcement, as well as the local civilian community, to develop effective, targeted strategies to reduce violent crime. This case is a product of that collaborative effort.