For Immediate Release
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Update: Six Appear in Federal Court This Week for Gun Crimes
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Mike Stuart announced that six defendants appeared in federal court this week for various gun crimes.
“As part of PSN, we’re working hard with ATF and state and local law enforcement to reduce violent crime in our communities,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “Prosecuting violators of federal gun laws is vital to our efforts. Week after week, we take more prohibited persons with guns off our streets and put them behind bars.”
Four men appeared in United States District Court in Charleston on felon in possession charges:
Tijuan Tyson, 31, of Charleston, was sentenced to 24 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Tyson previously admitted that on October 19, 2015, he was approached by officers because he looked similar to a suspect involved in a robbery. He appeared nervous, had his hands in his pocket, and dropped a bag of suspected marijuana on the ground prior to taking off on foot. He was apprehended and during a search incident to arrest, officers located the loaded and operable Arsenal CO, 9 mm caliber pistol, which was listed as stolen, in his pocket. Tyson is prohibited from possessing firearms because he has been convicted of the felony of Use of an Access Device With the Intent to Defraud. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Charleston Police Department conducted the investigation. United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Ryan A. Saunders handled the prosecution.
Dakota Zachary Williams, 24, of St. Albans, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for possession of a firearm by a felon. At public court hearings, it was established that on January 19, 2019, police stopped Williams for erratic driving in St. Albans. Williams told an officer that he was swerving because he was rolling a blunt while driving and that he had marijuana in his cup holder. Investigators recovered the marijuana and also found a loaded pistol under the driver’s seat. They arrested Williams and found that he was carrying more marijuana, various pills, and around 3 grams of methamphetamine. Further, on February 12, 2019, police arrested Williams again in the parking lot of Walmart in Nitro, where Williams had shoplifted an item. On scene, investigators found Williams carrying another loaded firearm, marijuana, and a box of ammunition. Williams had previously been convicted for felony wanton endangerment in 2016 and his right to possess a firearm was not restored. The St. Albans Police Department, Nitro Police Department, and the ATF conducted the investigation. Senior United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Drew O. Inman handled the prosecution.
Shannon Brown, 43, of Charleston, pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Brown admitted that on June 6, 2019, he possessed a Smith and Wesson, .40 caliber handgun, in and affecting interstate commerce. Brown had previously been convicted of two prior drug felonies on August 12, 1998 and July 13, 2004, in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, WV, and was aware that he was prohibited from possessing a firearm. Brown faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced on January 30, 2020. The Charleston Police Department and the ATF conducted the investigation. United States District Judge Irene C. Berger presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Steven I. Loew is handling the prosecution.
William Ware, 41, of Ohio, was sentenced to 60 months in prison for being a felon in possession of ammunition. On May 18, 2017, Charleston Police investigated a call that shots were fired on 6th Street in Charleston. The defendant and his vehicle matched the description provided by witnesses of who fired the shots. Charleston Police found magazine with 12 shot of ammunition in the driver side floor of the vehicle after pulling Defendant over on Bagley Street. Defendant had three prior felony convictions, and did not have his rights restored to possess firearms or ammunition. The Charleston Police Department and the ATF conducted the investigation. United States District Judge Irene C. Berger presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Chris Arthur handled the prosecution.
In addition, two Huntington men pled guilty before United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers to being felons in possession of firearms.
Randall Allen Eplion, Jr., 30, admitted that, on April 5, 2019, officers with the Huntington Police Department executed a search warrant at his residence located at 427 Rear 6th Avenue, Apartment E in Huntington . During the search, officers found Eplion in possession of a number of firearms including a .45 caliber pistol, a 5.56 mm rifle, and a 12 gauge shotgun. Eplion was prohibited from possessing firearms based on a prior conviction for first degree robbery in Cabell County. Eplion admitted as part of his plea that he possessed a total of 21 firearms that officers located during the search. Some of the firearms were stolen and Eplion admitted that he traded methamphetamine for a number of the firearms. Eplion also admitted that the 5.56 mm rifle qualified as a machinegun, the 12 gauge shotgun qualified as a short-barrel shotgun, and that neither of the firearms were registered as required by federal law. Eplion faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced on December 16, 2019. The ATF and the Huntington Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Joseph F. Adams is handling the prosecution.
Jeremy Bartram, 27, admitted that on July 6, 2019 the West Virginia State Police conducted a traffic stop on his vehicle in the area of 16th Street Road in Huntington. Bartram admitted to the Trooper that he possessed a handgun. The Trooper then searched the vehicle and found the firearm in a bag between Bartram’s feet. Bartram is prohibited from possessing a firearm because he was previously convicted of a felony offense. Bartram faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced on December 16, 2019. The West Virginia State Police conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Taylor is handling the prosecution.
These cases are being prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program, 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.