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Press Release

New York Man Enters Guilty Plea to Federal Gun Charge

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A New York man pled guilty to a federal firearm charge,  announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  John Maurice James, 42, pled guilty to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

“James had a gun to protect himself, his stash of oxycodone and his drug money,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “In my District, you can expect to see drug dealers with firearms charged accordingly.  Federal gun crimes carry stiff penalties.”

James admitted that in February 2018, members of the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force executed a search warrant at his house in Mercer County.  During the search, officers located a small amount of cocaine and approximately 500 oxycodone pills that James intended to distribute.  They also found cash and a Ruger LCP, .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol in the same room he had been staying.  Defendant admitted that he possessed the firearm to protect himself, the oxycodone pills he possessed, and the cash from prior sales of oxycodone.  Defendant further admitted that he had been supplying oxycodone pills to another individual residing in that house with him.  He knew that the individual was distributing the drugs for profit.  

James faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years and up to life in prison when sentenced on March 16, 2020.

The Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force conducted the investigation.   Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber presided over the hearing.  Assistant United States Attorney Timothy D. Boggess is handling the prosecution.


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Updated November 13, 2019

Firearms Offenses