Department of Justice
For Immediate Release
Chesapeake Man Pleads Guilty to Firearms Trafficking
NORFOLK, Va. – A Chesapeake man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to make false statements in connection with 45 firearm transactions.
According to court documents, from June 2019 through June 2020, Kevin Staton, Jr., 23, engaged in the business of buying and selling 45 firearms without a license. In furtherance of this illegal activity, he made false official statements on ATF forms in order to buy firearms. Staton claimed he was the actual buyer of the firearms, but, in actuality, he was purchasing the firearms for other individuals or with intent to resell them. Staton would coordinate with co-conspirators to identify firearms for purchase through online firearm marketplaces.
When Staton was interviewed by ATF agents he said, “Guns are like money,” and “I’m buying them knowing I’m going to be selling them.”
At least 15 of the 45 firearms Staton purchased were recovered from crime scenes in other cities and states. All but one of those firearms had been used for a crime or recovered by law enforcement less than one year after purchase from Staton.
Staton is scheduled to be sentenced on April 27, 2022. He faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Greg D. Underwood, Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney; and Charlie J. Patterson, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division, made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence R. Leonard accepted the plea.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John F. Butler and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Graham M. Stolle are prosecuting the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:21-cr-141.