HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A former Mason County Deputy Sheriff pled guilty today to a federal gun charge, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart in a news release.
Terry Lee Powell, 42, of Point Pleasant, entered his guilty plea to possession of a stolen firearm before United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers. Stuart commended the investigative efforts of the West Virginia State Police and the Mason County Sheriff’s Department.
“I often tell folks that one of my greatest honors as United States Attorney is being able to work every day with West Virginia law enforcement officers who are the best of the best,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “The overwhelming majority of our law enforcement officers conduct themselves with honor and integrity, and this United States Attorney will have their backs every single day. However, when a law enforcement official breaks the law, my office will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. For a law enforcement officer such as Powell to steal a gun and sell it to a drug dealer is unconscionable, a violation of public trust, a rebuke of the very law he swore to uphold, and a disgrace to his fellow officers.”
Powell admitted that on July 4, 2015, he seized a World War II era Luger 9mm pistol during an investigation he was conducting at a residence on Ultra Lane in Ashton, West Virginia. Instead of logging the weapon into evidence, Powell sold it for $2,500 to Eugene Asbury of Gallipolis Ferry.
Mason County Sheriff Gregory Powers had been conducting an internal investigation of Powell when he learned that West Virginia State Troopers found evidence of Powell’s theft and sale of the pistol while executing a federal search warrant at Asbury’s residence in April 2016. Sheriff Powers referred the matter to the State Police for criminal investigation. Asbury later pleaded guilty to federal drug trafficking and money laundering charges as a result of that investigation and will be sentenced on July 30, 2018.
Powell faces up to ten years in federal prison when he is sentenced on Sept. 18, 2018.
Assistant United States Attorney Joshua C. Hanks is responsible for the prosecution.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing 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 violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
Information provided by The United States Attorney’s Office S0uthern District of West Virginia.