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Press Release

Parkersburg Man Pleads Guilty to Firearm and Methamphetamine Charges

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Parkersburg man pled guilty today to federal charges related to the trafficking of methamphetamine and the possession of a firearm while involved in drug trafficking, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. James Daniel Canty, 60, pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

“A gun-toting meth dealer with six prior felony convictions,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “Bad actors like Canty endanger our communities and that’s why we are laser-focused on making sure the traffickers and the wrong-doers are caught and prosecuted.”

Canty admitted that on November 30, 2019, following a traffic stop by members of the Parkersburg Police Department on Plum Street near Jefferson Elementary School in Parkersburg, he was found to be in possession of approximately 55 grams of methamphetamine as well as a loaded .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol with an obliterated serial number and a box of .25 caliber ammunition. Canty further admitted that he intended to distribute the methamphetamine that he possessed, and that he possessed the firearm for the purpose of protecting himself and the methamphetamine that he was carrying. Canty has a long criminal history, which includes six prior felony convictions.        

Canty faces up to life in prison when sentenced on September 21, 2020.

The Parkersburg Police Department conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Senior United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., presided over the hearing.  Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy B. Wolfe is handling the prosecution.

The case is being prosecuted as 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 24, 2020

Project Guardian
Drug Trafficking