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Press Release

Project Guardian: Two Men Plead Guilty to Federal Ammunition and Firearm Charges

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two men pled guilty this week to federal ammunition and firearm charges, according to United States Attorney Mike Stuart.

Darrell Lowers, 39, of New York, pled guilty to being a felon in possession of ammunition. On January 21, 2020, officers with the Charleston Police Department were dispatched to a residence for a report of shots fired. Lowers was detained inside the residence and .45 caliber Winchester ammunition was recovered from his truck. Lowers was on parole out of New York at the time he committed this offense. He has prior felony convictions for second degree burglary in 2013, third degree arson in 2011, and attempted second degree assault in 2007. These convictions all occurred in New York. Lowers faces a potential 15 years to life in prison when sentenced on January 14, 2021. The case was investigated by the Charleston Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). United States District Judge Irene C. Berger presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Nick Miller is handling the prosecution.

Brian Kelly Townsend, 58, of Charleston, pled guilty to possession of a firearm as a convicted felon. Townsend admitted that on June 9, 2018, he contacted law enforcement alleging he had been assaulted by his girlfriend. When questioned by law enforcement, Townsend admitted that no assault had occurred and that he had made a false report to police. His girlfriend then expressed fear of Townsend, indicating he was a convicted felon and had a firearm that he kept locked in his pickup truck. She produced a holster and ammunition. Townsend was questioned and admitted that he was a convicted felon and possessed a firearm. Law enforcement recovered a loaded Charter Arms Corp. .32 caliber revolver from Townsend’s pickup truck. Townsend has prior felony convictions for child abuse causing bodily injury and third offense domestic battery in Kanawha County Circuit Court that disqualify him from owning or possessing firearms. Townsend faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced on December 8, 2020. The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Senior United States Judge David A. Faber presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Julie White is handling the prosecution.

These cases are 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 (ATF) 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 is prosecuting these cases with support from the Project Guardian partners noted above. For more information about Project Guardian, please see:

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-00118 (Lowers) and Case No. 2:20-cr-00088 (Townsend).


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Updated September 10, 2020

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