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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Virginia
For Immediate Release
Christopher R. Kavanaugh, United States Attorney
www.justice.gov/usao-wdva
Monday, October 30, 2023

Martinsville Man Pleads Guilty to Methamphetamine and Gun Charge

ROANOKE, Va. — A Martinsville man pled guilty last week in U.S. District Court to one count of possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Donald Edward Ponder, III, 36, will be sentenced on Feb. 29, 2024.

According to court documents, on May 4, 2022, officers with the Martinsville Police Department encountered Ponder walking towards Fidelity Bank in Martinsville. Ponder had an outstanding warrant for his arrest and was known to local police.

As Ponder approached the entrance of the bank, officers placed him under arrest for the outstanding warrant and escorted him away from bank customers and into the parking lot. During a subsequent search of Ponder, officers discovered a Jennings .22 caliber pistol in his right hip pocket and observed a black zip container hanging from his front belt loop. A search of that container revealed 17 individually packaged jewelry baggies containing approximately 11 grams of methamphetamine. Ponder told officers there was another firearm in his backpack. A search of the backpack revealed a Taurus G2C 9mm pistol, an additional G2C magazine, a baggie of jewelry bags, and a working electronic digital scale. Both pistols were fully loaded with one bullet in each chamber. Further investigation revealed the defendant had been previously convicted of a felony and was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

At sentencing, Ponder faces a minimum sentence of five years in federal prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh and Craig B. Kailimai, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, made the announcement.

The ATF and the Martinsville Police Department investigated the case.

Special Assistant United States Attorney J. Parker Gochenour, an Assistant Attorney General with the Virginia Attorney General’s Major Crimes and Emerging Threats Section is prosecuting the case.

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