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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of West Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Five people sentenced for roles in a firearms conspiracy

ELKINS, WEST VIRGINIA – Five people were sentenced today to a combined 145 months incarceration for their roles in a firearms theft and sale scheme, United States Attorney Bill Powell announced.

Benjamin Tyler Nazelrod, of Buckhannon, West Virginia, was sentenced today to 24 months incarceration. Nazelrod, age 27, pled guilty to one count of “Conspiracy to Possess Stolen Firearms” in January 2018. He admitted to conspiring with others to receive, possess, barter, sell, conceal and dispose of 21 firearms in Upshur County in October 2016. 

Johnny Lee Riley, age 28, of Ellamore, West Virginia, was sentenced today to 46 months incarceration. Ellamore pled guilty to one count of “Possession of Stolen Firearm” in January 2018. Riley admitted to receiving, possessing, bartering, concealing, or selling 10 firearms in Upshur County in October 2016. Riley was also ordered to pay $52,843.97 in restitution.

Bobby Ray Johnson, Jr., age 28, of Buckhannon, West Virginia, was sentenced today to 60 months incarceration. Johnson pled guilty to one count of “Carry a Firearm During a Drug Trafficking Crime” in January 2018. Johnson admitted to having a .40 caliber pistol during a drug trafficking crime in December 2016 in Upshur County. 

Danielle Paige Tanner, age 23, of Glen Allen, Virginia, was sentenced today to 15 months incarceration. Tanner pled guilty to one count of “Conspiracy to Possess Stolen Firearms” in December 2017. Tanner admitted to conspiring with others to steal, possess, barter and sell firearms for money and methamphetamines in Upshur County and elsewhere from October 2016 to September 2017. 

Aaron Matthew McLain, age 37, of Volga, West Virginia, was sentenced today to five years probation. McLain pled guilty to one count of “Possession of Stolen Firearm - Aiding and Abetting” in January 2018. McLain admitted to receiving, possessing, bartering or selling two firearms in Barbour County in October 2016.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen D. Warner prosecuted the cases on behalf of the government. The Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives, The Mountain Region Drug & Violent Crime Task Force, the Greater Harrison Drug &Violent Crime Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, the West Virginia State Police, Upshur County Sheriff’s Office, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, the Buckhannon Police Department, and the Weston Police Department investigated. 

The investigation was funded by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program (OCDETF). The OCDETF program supplies critical federal funding and coordination that allows federal and state agencies to work together to successfully identify, investigate, and prosecute major interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises.
 
U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey presided. 
 

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated May 2, 2018