Convicted felon released early under First Step Act arrested for second time on drug charges

CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. — A local convicted felon was given a second chance when a new federal law shortened his drug sentence. Now, the drug offender is back behind bars.

Troy Powell visited Washington, D.C., in April 2019 to celebrate the new law, called the First Step Act.

In a news conference, President Trump used Powell as an example of the new law changing lives.

“One of these newly freed Americans is Troy Powell, who is with us today. In 2004, Troy was sentenced to 20 years for doing a drug offense,” said Trump.

The bipartisan act approved by lawmakers and signed into law by the president gave more than 3,000 prisoners a second chance.

Powell was released from prison and got a job at a local lumber company.

However, he was arrested again in February. Caldwell County detectives said he and three others were caught with thousands of dollars in meth and were charged with trafficking.

"That doesn’t change my opinion in terms of the First Step Act because it is overall good. It is benefiting numerous people,” said local defense attorney Rob Corbett.

On March 6, Powell was arrested on federal charges, including conspiracy, possession and intent to sell meth.

He applauded the law that got Powell out of prison in the first place.

The law aimed to make the justice system fairer. Among other things, it eliminated the three-strikes life-sentencing provision for some offenses.

It also modified mandatory minimum sentences for some drug traffickers with prior drug convictions.

"We have people who are serving draconian, extremely long sentences for victimless crimes. It is not a violent offense, no one is hurt,” said Corbett.

Powell was still in prison on a $500,000 bond.

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