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Press Release

Previously Convicted Felon Sentenced to Prison for Possessing Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. – A Chesterfield man was sentenced today to 71 months in prison for being a previously convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

According to court documents, Elijah Cupitt, 37, was arrested in December 2019, when U.S. Marshals, working alongside the Richmond Police Department and Chesterfield Police Department, sought to locate him and a murder suspect that Cupitt was suspected to be housing. After obtaining consent to search the residence, U.S. Marshals searched the master bedroom walk-in closet and located a bag of white powder, later confirmed to be crack cocaine, and a firearm described as a Smith and Wesson, .40 caliber. Cupitt admitted to possessing the evidence and had over 15 past criminal convictions, including four felony convictions, at the time of the search.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. Click here for more information about Project Guardian.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and David W. Archey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Simon, Jr. prosecuted the case.

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. 3:20-cr-48.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Public Affairs

Updated October 23, 2020

Project Guardian
Firearms Offenses