• 63°

Ramer man convicted of federal felony gun, drug charges in Troy

MONTGOMERY – A federal jury convicted a Ramer man Wednesday, June 5, with three federal felony charges in connection to an incident in Troy in July 2017.

The jury convicted Willis Lydell Cogburn, 31, of Ramer on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, announced United States Attorney Louis V. Franklin, Sr., Troy Police Chief Randall Barr, and ATF Special Agent in Charge Marcus Watson.

The trial evidence showed that in the early morning hours of Saturday, July 8, 2017, Troy Police officers were patrolling the downtown area after responding to a disturbance call. After the issues with the initial call were cleared, officers then began to patrol the area near a bar on Love Street where a crowd had gathered. There they found Cogburn in a vehicle with his car stereo playing at an excessive volume. When officers approached the car to address the noise issue, they noticed an open container of alcohol in the vehicle and detected the smell of marijuana. 

Upon questioning, Cogburn became uncooperative and confrontational. Officers asked Cogburn to get out of the vehicle and opened the driver’s door to remove him. At that point, Cogburn placed the vehicle in reverse and drove backwards down the street for approximately 50 feet before hitting another vehicle and coming to a stop. This happened so suddenly that an officer had to jump into the car’s doorjamb and cling to the vehicle to avoid being struck by the open door as the car moved backwards. No one was injured.

“Our officers encountered a dangerous individual that night and the situation escalated very quickly,” Barr said.  “Thankfully, we were able to get him into custody without serious injury to officers, bystanders, or the defendant.  I am grateful for the partnerships my department has with the agencies involved in this case and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

Once Cogburn was removed from the vehicle, officers searched the car and found a significant amount of marijuana, digital scales, and a .38 caliber revolver. Small amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine were also discovered. Having previously been convicted of a felony, Cogburn was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Following these convictions, Cogburn is facing a minimum of five years in prison with a maximum sentence of life. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Guns and drugs are a deadly mix,” Franklin said. “Dealers often carry firearms to protect their drugs and money, placing the public and law enforcement at risk.  We are fortunate that someone was not seriously injured during this encounter and I am relieved that the Troy police officers were able to prevent the situation from escalating further.”      

“Our officers encountered a dangerous individual that night and the situation escalated very quickly,” stated Chief Barr.  “Thankfully, we were able to get him into custody without serious injury to officers, bystanders, or the defendant.  I am grateful for the partnerships my department has with the agencies involved in this case and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.” 

The case was investigated by the Troy Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), with assistance from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. Assistant United States Attorneys Joshua Wendell and Robert Nichols prosecuted the case.