ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Connecticut Financial Center
157 Church Street
New Haven, Connecticut 06510

www.justice.gov/usao/ct

For Immediate Release

April 14, 2010

Contact: Tom Carson, Public Information Officer

(203) 821-3722

(203) 996-1393 (cell)

Project Safe Neighborhoods:
Middletown Sentenced to 25 Years in Federal Prison for Illegally Possessing Guns, Marijuana Plants

Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOHN D. ROY, 37, of Middletown, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Ellen Bree Burns in New Haven to 300 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release. On September 24, 2008, a jury found ROY guilty of one count of possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon, and one count of manufacture or possession with intent to distribute 100 or more marijuana plants.

According to the evidence presented during the trial, on March 9, 2007, Middletown Police executed a search warrant at ROY’s residence at 60 Church Street in Middletown. The search revealed that numerous firearms and ammunition were stored in the residence, including three handguns and a semi-automatic rifle that were located in ROY’s bedroom. During the search, police discovered an elaborate hydroponic marijuana grow operation in the basement with more than 100 marijuana plants in various stages of growth. The defendant testified at trial and claimed that either the Middletown Police or ROY’s roommate planted the guns and ammunition in his bedroom. ROY also testified that the marijuana was being cultivated by his mother, who lived in East Hartford, and his mother’s friend. ROY admitted that he was aware of the marijuana plants and helped construct one of the motorized lighting units used to replicate sunlight for the plants, but he denied participating in the cultivation, harvesting or distribution of the plants.

ROY was previously convicted of felony offenses including burglary, theft of a firearm, and arson. It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony to possess a firearm that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.

Based on his criminal history, ROY faced enhanced penalties under the Armed Career Criminal Act, which mandates a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and a maximum term of life for his conviction of possession of a firearm or ammunition by a convicted felon. Today, Judge Burns sentenced ROY to 240 months of imprisonment for illegally possessing the firearms, and a consecutive 60-month term for cultivating marijuana.

This matter was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Middletown Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brian P. Leaming.

U.S. Attorney Dannehy noted that this prosecution is part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative. This program is aimed at reducing gang and gun violence, deterring illegal possession, sale and trafficking of guns, and improving the safety of residents throughout Connecticut. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

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