For Immediate Release
Convicted Murderer Sentenced for Drug and Firearms Crimes
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Newport News man was sentenced today to 25 years in prison for possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crime, felon in possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
“Willie Hardy, Jr., has a significant and lengthy criminal history of violence,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “In addition to being convicted of murder, he has been convicted of multiple other violent offenses, including violence against women. This is precisely the type of criminal that needed the attention of federal law enforcement and significant time in prison. I have no doubt that Newport News is safer with Hardy off the streets and behind bars.”
According to court documents, Willie M. Hardy, Jr., 47, engaged in drug trafficking while armed and while on federal supervision. In May 2018, Newport News Police Department received information that Hardy was trafficking drugs while armed out of a residence in Newport News. At the time, Hardy was on federal supervision for a September 2009 federal conviction for possession with intent to distribute marijuana and felon in possession of a firearm. In February 2018, Hardy stopped communicating with his probation officer, and a federal arrest warrant was issued for Hardy in March 2018. Based upon the information investigators received, law enforcement obtained a search warrant for the residence in May 2018. After executing the search warrant, law enforcement recovered two firearms, marijuana and heroin from within the residence. Investigators interviewed Hardy, who confessed that he distributed marijuana and within the last five weeks had been middlemanning heroin. Hardy also admitted to receiving both firearms.
“This case demonstrates ATF’s commitment to supporting our law enforcement partners with investigative leads generated by our National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN),” said Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division. “This cutting edge technology matches ballistic evidence to crime scenes, helping law enforcement identify suspects and solve crimes much faster than is otherwise possible. Tools like NIBIN are crucial to the safety of our communities because they allow law enforcement to swiftly remove violent offenders like Hardy from our streets.”
While in custody on firearms and drug charges, Hardy attempted to obstruct justice by making jail calls to see if someone else who was not a felon would take responsibility for the firearm, and even contemplated having someone write an affidavit on his behalf.
After a four day jury trial, Hardy was convicted of possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crime, felon in possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division; and Steve R. Drew, Chief of Newport News Police, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen. Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan M. Cowles prosecuted the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is 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.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:18-cr-77.