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Press Release

Putnam County Man Pleads Guilty to Gun Crime

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Hurricane man pled guilty to a federal firearm offense today, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  Johnny Ray Thacker, 63, pled guilty to carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime before United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin.  Stuart commended the investigation conducted by the Charleston Police Department, the Dunbar Police Department, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“Drugs and guns by a two-time felon,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “Drug trafficking is a violent business. Our law enforcement partners are placed in harm’s way every single day to get violent drug dealers off the streets and behind bars. There may be nothing more uncertain and, frankly, scary, than walking up to the side of a vehicle and not knowing what may be pointed back at you.  A felon in possession of a firearm is against the law and we will prosecute each and every time we find a felon with a gun.”

On July 3, 2018, a Charleston Police Officer stopped Thacker for speeding 24 miles per hour over the speed limit on Sissonville Drive.  Thacker told the officer he had a gun on the passenger seat, which the officer temporarily secured for their safety.  Thacker was a two-time felon, whose rights to possess a firearm had not been restored.  While retrieving Thacker’s gun, the officer spotted marijuana scattered on it.  Officers then searched Thacker’s vehicle and recovered several grams of methamphetamine and heroin, baggies for drug packaging, and a scale.

On September 3, 2018, police officers were called to Dunbar Memorial Park regarding suspected drug trafficking out of a lime green colored vehicle.  Officers spotted Thacker parked in a lime green car.  After a specially-trained police dog detected the odor of drugs coming from Thacker’s car, police searched it and found approximately 4.5 grams of methamphetamine, baggies, a scale, a baggie of powdered sugar for cutting drugs, and a ledger documenting drug debts and sales.  Thacker claimed the drugs.

Thacker faces a mandatory minimum five years and up to life in federal prison when he is sentenced on November 7, 2019.  Assistant United States Attorney Drew O. Inman is handling the prosecution.


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Updated August 7, 2019

Firearms Offenses