ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that a federal jury has found Ashley Travis, 29, of Rochester, N.Y., guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine and to maintain a drug involved premises, distribution of crack cocaine, possessing crack cocaine with intent to distribute, and maintaining a drug involved premises. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000 or both.
In addition, the jury found Fawndell Henderson, 39, also of Rochester, guilty of being a felon in possession of a Smith and Wesson revolver and ammunition, as well as possessing a short-barreled Remington 20 gauge shotgun which was made in violation of the National Firearms Act and which was not registered to Henderson in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or both. The jury was unable to reach a verdict relating to various drug trafficking offenses and whether Henderson possessed the firearms in furtherance of the drug trafficking offenses.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles E. Moynihan, who handled the prosecution of the case, stated that on September 12, 2012, Henderson and Travis were arrested at 104 Weeger Street in Rochester, after police officers executed a search warrant at the location. Immediately prior to executing the search warrant, Travis sold four bags of crack cocaine to an undercover police officer. Once inside of the location, law enforcement officers found three additional bags containing crack cocaine, as well digital scales commonly used to measure drugs for distribution and small ziplock bags used to package drugs for distribution. Officers also located $201.00 in United States currency in Henderson’s pocket, as well as $40.00 in United States currency on a table in the residence.
Law enforcement officers also located and seized a loaded Smith and Wesson revolver and an unloaded Remington 20 gauge shotgun, which had the barrel shortened to a length of 14 and ¼ inches, testimony presented by the Government showed. The wooden stock of the shotgun was also removed. Furthermore, the testimony showed that the firearms were secreted in a compartment near the doorway to the residence in a location which would have been easily reachable by the children of Henderson and Travis, who were also found in the residence. Henderson confessed to police in a written statement after his arrest, admitting that he had been selling crack cocaine for several months from his house and the he possessed the firearms. The defendant said that he bought the shotgun from an addict in exchange for two bags of crack and that he had the shotgun for protection. Henderson also admitted to pointing it at rival drug dealers in the neighborhood. He also said that he took possession of the revolver from a friend because his friend had announced intention to use it against rival drug dealers.
The jury did not reach a verdict on firearms charges against Travis or drug trafficking charges against Henderson.
The convictions are the culmination of an investigation on the part of on the part of Special Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives under the direction of Thomas J. Cannon, Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Division, and the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Ciminelli.
Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for September 30, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. before the U.S. District Judge David G. Larimer who presided over the trial of the case.