(STL.News) – A federal jury convicted a Norfolk man yesterday on all counts charged against him—two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, one count of possessing with intent to distribute cocaine, and one count of possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.
“Demetrius McGregor has a long record of violent gun crime in Hampton Roads,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Serial violent felons who continue to arm themselves are major drivers of the gun crime that plagues our communities, and we will continue to prioritize cases like this one. Additionally, I would like to commend all those involved in this jury trial given the unique challenges posed by COVID-19. Despite the many challenges posed by trying a case during a pandemic, the entire criminal justice system worked together to ensure this defendant had his day in court in front of a jury of his peers.”
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, on Oct. 6, 2017, Demetrius Antwon McGregor, 35, was arrested on a warrant in front of his apartment by members of the Norfolk Police Department Fugitive Unit and a Deputy U.S. Marshal. They recovered a loaded Sig Sauer handgun from his waistband. McGregor is an 11-time convicted violent felon, with prior convictions for both malicious and unlawful wounding, use of a firearm in commission of a felony, attempted robbery, and conspiracy to commit robbery as well as four convictions for maliciously shooting into an occupied vehicle.
“Firearms in the possession of a convicted felon are always a public safety concern, but especially so in the hands of a career criminal with nearly a dozen convictions for violent and lawless behavior,” said Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Washington Field Division. “This conviction on all charges confirms that repeated, unlawful behavior will not be tolerated and we are grateful to U.S. Attorney Terwilliger and our law enforcement partners in Hampton Roads for this successful outcome.”
Investigators obtained a search warrant for McGregor’s apartment, where he was staying with his mother, and found in the bedroom closet 18 bags of cocaine, two assault rifles, one of which was loaded and had been reported stolen, four additional large-capacity magazines, dozens of rounds of .45 and 9mm caliber ammunition, and two digital scales. The investigators also recovered from under the bedroom mattress a Sig Saur .45 caliber magazine designed for the gun taken from his waistband, two additional digital scales sitting out in the open on top of a cabinet, and shoes that McGregor had previously photographed himself wearing and had posted on his Facebook page along with multiple photos of himself standing in front of his residence months before the arrest and search. The .45 caliber ammunition from the closet and in the magazine under the mattress matched the brand of the ammunition in the handgun recovered from McGregor.
“Law enforcement must continue to surgically remove those from the streets that plague our communities surrounding gun crime across Hampton Roads,” said Larry D. Boone, Chief of Norfolk Police. “Additionally, we must not only target violent individuals, but we must also target those sources that afford violent felons to arm themselves in the first place, otherwise the measurable outcomes will be minimum.”
McGregor faces a minimum of five years and a maximum of life in prison when sentenced on Feb. 4, 2020. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. .