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Press Release

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

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two felons appeared in federal court this week on gun charges, according to United States Attorney Mike Stuart.

Deandre Donte Coleman, 28, of Nitro, was sentenced to 36 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Coleman’s prison sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release, and he also surrendered to law enforcement authorities any ownership interest that he may have had in the firearm involved in this offense. Coleman previously admitted that on September 2, 2019, he was riding as the front passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by law enforcement officers along MacCorkle Avenue in Jefferson. Officers discovered during the course of this traffic stop that Coleman was in possession of a 9mm semi-automatic pistol along with 11.4 grams of methamphetamine and 8.5 grams of a mixture containing fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine. Coleman admitted that he was in possession of the firearm, that he intended to sell the controlled substances found in his possession, and that he knew at the time he possessed the pistol that he had been previously convicted of the felony offense of distribution of cocaine base in the United States District Court in Charleston. The St. Albans Police Department and the Nitro Police Department conducted the investigation, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Senior United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy B. Wolfe handled the prosecution.

Matthew Thacker, 39, of Huntington, pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.  On November 14, 2018, officers with the Huntington Police Department executed a search warrant at Thacker’s residence at 315 Oak Street in Huntington. Officers located two firearms in the home. Thacker told officers he knew he could not legally possess the firearms. Thacker was prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law because of a 2014 conviction for the felony offenses of aggravated battery and aggravated assault in Pinellas County, Florida. Thacker faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on September 28, 2020. The Huntington Police Department conducted the investigation. United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers presided over the plea hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie S. Taylor prosecuted the case on behalf of the government.

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 July 1, 2020

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