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Press Release

Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Drug and Gun Crimes

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Dayton, Ohio man pled guilty to drug and gun crimes, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Keenan Watson, 24, pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

“7 million people or more than 4 times the population of West Virginia. That’s how many people could have died had the fentanyl in this case hit the streets and that doesn’t include the massive amount of meth or the guns,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “Another out-of-state poison peddler that will be ‘hosted’ by a federal prison for potentially the rest of his life, Watson was caught with 209 grams of meth, 135 grams of fentanyl and two guns – a dangerous and deadly combination. Excellent work by the DEA and the Parkersburg Police Department. I will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute gun-toting drug dealers to keep West Virginia families safe.”

Watson admitted that on Aug. 27, 2019, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Watson was inside that residence and ran outside when the officers entered. He ran from the officers until they were able to catch up and arrest him. Officers removed two handguns from Watson and also recovered approximately 209 grams of methamphetamine, and approximately 135 grams of what later proved to be fentanyl from a bag that he was carrying. Watson admitted that he possessed both guns to protect himself, the quantity of methamphetamine and fentanyl that he possessed, and any proceeds from the sales of those drugs. 

Watson faces up to life in prison when sentenced on Oct. 21, 2020.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Parkersburg Police Department conducted the investigation. United States District Judge Irene C. Berger presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney L. Alexander Hamner is handling the prosecution.

These cases are 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. The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted these cases with support from the Project Guardian partners noted above. For more information about Project Guardian, please see:   


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Updated June 3, 2020

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