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Press Release

Raleigh County Man Sentenced to Prison for Federal Gun Crime

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

BECKLEY, W.Va. – James Pratt, 31, of Beckley, was sentenced today to four years and nine months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on February 25, 2021, Pratt was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over by law enforcement officers in Beckley. Officers found a Browning, model Hi-Power, 9mm pistol and $5,385 in the vehicle during the traffic stop. Pratt admitted to possessing the firearm and the money. Pratt further admitted that he possessed the firearm in connection with his drug trafficking activities, which included receiving four or five ounces of heroin and fentanyl per day that he subsequently distributed.

Federal law prohibits a person with a prior felony conviction from possessing a firearm or ammunition. Pratt knew he was prohibited from possessing a firearm because of his prior felony convictions in Raleigh County Circuit Court for first-degree robbery on August 5, 2010, and child abuse resulting in injury on July 29, 2013.

United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department.

United States District Judge Frank W. Volk imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorneys Negar M. Kordestani and Andrew D. Isabell prosecuted the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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. 5:22-cr-106.



Updated June 2, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses