For Immediate Release
Birmingham Man Sentenced to More Than 16 Years in Prison on Drug and Gun Charges
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A federal judge today sentenced a convicted felon on drug and gun charges, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Mickey French.
U.S. District Judge Annemarie Carney Axon sentenced Raymond Beryl Esters, 29, of Birmingham, to 195 months in prison. Esters pleaded guilty in May to one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, one count of distributing five grams or more of methamphetamine, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
“Combating gun violence is a top priority of my office and the Department of Justice,” U.S. Attorney Escalona said. “Drug-dealing felons who illegally possess firearms are a threat to this community, and we work closely with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to arrest and prosecute these offenders.”
“ATF Crime Gun Intelligence partnerships with the Mountain Brook PD and the United States Attorney’s Office focused on reducing the crimes of violence involving a stolen firearm,” ATF Special Agent in Charge Mickey French stated. “This directed investigation will have a lasting impact to the community.”
According to the plea agreement, Mountain Brook Police officers spotted Esters getting out of the driver’s side of a stolen vehicle in August 2019. Esters ran when approached by officers. Officers searched the stolen vehicle and found a Romarm Mini Drayco 7.62x39mm pistol, loaded with 26 rounds of ammunition, a box of twenty rounds of Frontier 5.56 caliber rounds of ammunition, a magazine of 5.56 caliber ammunition, and a black Gucci bag containing methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin lying next to the pistol in the driver’s side floorboard. Ester later admitted that he knew the firearm was stolen. Esters also admitted that on August 11, 2020, he sold 56 grams of methamphetamine for $1000.
The ATF investigated the case along with the Mountain Brook Police Department and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristy Peoples prosecuted the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.