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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Pennsylvania
Eric G. Olshan, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 21, 2024

Recidivist Drug Trafficker and Illegal Firearms Possessor Indicted for Semiautomatic Firearm Violation

PITTSBURGH — A resident of McKees Rocks has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on a charge of violating a federal firearms law, U.S. Attorney Eric G. Olshan announced today.

The one-count Indictment named Ernest Lee Terry, 45, as the sole defendant in this case. The charge initially was brought in the form of a federal criminal complaint filed after Terry’s March 14 arrest. Additional information regarding that complaint can be found here.

According to the Indictment, on or about March 14, Terry possessed a .45 caliber Ruger semiautomatic pistol after having been convicted of seven prior felonies—including drug trafficking and firearms charges. Federal law prohibits an individual who has been convicted of a felony from possessing a firearm or ammunition. The Indictment further alleges that Terry is subject to enhanced penalties as an Armed Career Criminal due to his numerous prior convictions.

The law provides for a maximum possible sentence of not less than 15 years and up to life in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. Under the federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history of the defendant.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Douglas C. Maloney and Vincent Joseph Sonson are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Allegheny County Police Department conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


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