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Press Release

Project Guardian Update: Two Appear in Federal Court on Gun Charges

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- One man was sentenced and another man pled guilty this week to being felons in possession of a firearm, according to United States Attorney Mike Stuart.

Ronald Lucas, 36, of Craigsville, was sentenced to 48 months in prison. He previously admitted that on May 10, 2019, law enforcement officers with the Nicholas County Sheriff’s Department were serving an arrest warrant at his home in Craigsville for a separate offense. Lucas answered the door wearing an empty nylon holster. When the officers asked where the gun was located, he indicated that it was inside the residence on a bed. When an officer went inside the residence to secure it, a loaded 9 millimeter pistol with a filed off serial number was located and seized. The Nicholas County Sheriff’s Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted the investigation. Senior United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Tessman handled the prosecution.

Akeem R. Dickerson, 28, of Princeton, pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm after admitting that on August 31, 2019, an officer with the Princeton Police Department pulled him over for not wearing his seatbelt while he was driving. During the traffic stop, the officer smelled marijuana. When asked about the marijuana smell, Dickerson admitted that he did in fact have some marijuana in the car and he also admitted that he had a gun. The officer then searched the car with Dickerson’s consent. The officer found a Springfield, model XDS, .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun. Dickerson admitted that he knew he was not supposed to possess any firearms because he was a convicted felon. Dickerson was prohibited from possessing any firearm under federal law because he was previously convicted in 2012 in McDowell County Circuit Court of the felony offenses of voluntary manslaughter and wanton endangerment with a firearm. Dickerson faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000.00 fine, to be followed by up to three years of supervised release when he is sentenced on September 14, 2020. Assistant United States Attorney Timothy D. Boggess is in charge of the prosecution. The plea hearing was held before Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber.

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 listed above. For more information about Project Guardian, please see:            


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Updated June 11, 2020

Project Guardian
Firearms Offenses