New Jersey man gets 10 Years in illegal gun case

District Attorney Jim Farrell announced today that Dahmir Bethea, 21, of Patterson, N.J., was sentenced in Sullivan County Court to 10 years in state prison and 5 years of post-release supervision for the possession of an illegal and loaded handgun found in his waistband during a traffic stop on November 22, 2016, on State Route 97 in the Town of Tusten. 

Bethea entered a guilty plea to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree, a class C violent felony.  Farrell said Bethea was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by a New York State Trooper for a vehicle and traffic offense last Fall.  A field interview of Bethea revealed a fully loaded and operational Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun in his waistband.  After the Trooper found and secured the handgun from Bethea, he ran away from the Trooper into a wooded area off the roadway and shouted for another occupant of the vehicle to “get the strap and smoke”. 

The other passenger did not take any action in response to this and he remained seated in the vehicle, as directed by the Trooper, while the Trooper pursued Bethea.  After a brief foot pursuit, the Trooper took him into custody.  A search of the vehicle revealed another fully loaded handgun under a front seat of the vehicle.  Bethea was previously convicted in New Jersey in 2015 of the felony offense of possession of heroin with the intent to distribute while within 1,000 feet of a school.  In that case, Bethea possessed 210 glassine envelopes of heroin. 

Farrell said this case highlights the dangers that our police officers face while they are on patrol, “The Trooper in this case was in a very dangerous position and all of our police officers, when they stop a car, never know what dangers they will confront.  I am pleased that the Trooper was able to disarm this defendant and was not hurt - but the danger is real. This defendant had no business possessing a loaded handgun and he will now face the consequences of that act by spending the next decade behind bars.” 

When he was arrested in this case, Bethea was wanted in New Jersey for an attempted murder charge involving a handgun that occurred in January of 2016 and will face trial there and be extradited to New Jersey on that charge.


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