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Press Release

Charleston Felon Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Federal Gun and Drug Crimes

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

Morris has previous convictions for attempted murder and wanton endangerment with a firearm

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Keith Morris, 35, of Charleston, was sentenced yesterday to 120 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, which carries a five-year mandatory minimum.

According to the plea agreement and statements made in court, on January 23, 2020, after responding to a two-vehicle crash on January 23, 2020, officers with the Charleston Police Department located 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and a loaded Glock, model 26, 9mm semi-automatic pistol in a locked safe in Morris’s car.  Again on August 7, 2020, law enforcement officers seized approximately 176 grams of fentanyl and a loaded SCCY CPX-1 9mm caliber handgun from inside the glovebox of Morris’s car during a traffic stop in Charleston. Morris admitted to law enforcement officers that he intended to distribute the controlled substances that had been seized from him. Morris further admitted that he knew he was prohibited from possessing firearms because he previously had been convicted in Kanawha County Circuit Court of attempted murder and wanton endangerment with a firearm.

“This case demonstrates the significant results achieved as a result of the strong partnership forged between the ATF and the Charleston Police Department,” said Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston.  “I applaud the work of our law enforcement partners to remove repeat offenders and violent drug traffickers from the community. Through Project Safe Neighborhoods we are collectively focusing our efforts and resources on making the community safer by addressing the drivers of violent crime.”  

“Drug dealers with guns are criminals who pose an increased threat to the safety of our communities,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge R. Shawn Morrow of the Louisville Field Division. “Yesterday’s sentencing is another example of the ongoing efforts of ATF and the Charleston Police Department working together to take a violent repeat offender off the streets and make our communities safer for everyone.”

“The teamwork you see in this collaborative effort has saved the lives of many by addressing two of our biggest threats to society, gun violence and illegal drugs,” said Chief James “Tyke” Hunt of the Charleston Police Department. “Project Safe Neighborhoods enables federal agencies like the ATF and our United States Attorney’s Office to exponentially enhance the enforcement efforts of the Charleston Police Department and our Kanawha County Prosecutor’s Office.  These joint operations eliminate jurisdictional restrictions and enhance penalties in the areas needed to keep our communities safe.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT), and the Charleston Police Department conducted the investigation. 

United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin imposed the sentence.  Assistant United States Attorney Negar M. Kordestani handled the prosecution.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), 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 Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:20-cr-00167.







Updated September 24, 2021

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses