(STL.News) – A previously convicted felon was sentenced today to over 12 years in prison for his possession of a firearm and possession of distribution amounts of cocaine hydrochloride and cocaine base following a vehicular pursuit in the City of Richmond.
According to court documents, in October 2019, Shamel McLaughlin, 35, of Richmond, engaged Richmond Police Department (RPD) officers in a high-speed vehicular pursuit in a residential neighborhood in the City of Richmond. Upon stopping his vehicle, RPD officers apprehended McLaughlin after a brief foot pursuit. A search of McLaughlin revealed a baggie with 3.45 grams of cocaine hydrochloride and 15 grams of marijuana. Following McLaughlin’s arrest, RPD officers discovered inside his vehicle a Smith and Wesson .38 caliber revolver, 17 rounds of .38 caliber ammunition, 2.49 grams of cocaine base, and small amounts of heroin and fentanyl
Based on his two prior drug distribution convictions, the Court sentenced McLaughlin as a career offender.
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.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge David J. Novak.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik S. Siebert prosecuted the case.