Three Felons Appear in Court in Connection with Federal Gun Crimes
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Three felons appeared before United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin this week in connection with federal gun crimes, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart.
Dana Stevenson, 28, of Charleston, was sentenced to 14 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Stevenson previously admitted that on August 14, 2017, Charleston Police Department officers were searching for a suspect that was seen driving a stolen vehicle. Officers saw Stevenson walking by the Kanawha River. As officers approached, Stevenson threw a firearm into the river. The Charleston Police Department Dive Team later recovered a Glock .40 caliber pistol from the river. Stevenson was prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law because of a 2014 felony malicious wounding conviction in Kanawha County, West Virginia. Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie S. Taylor handled the prosecution.
In another case, Clayton Cato, 36, of Brooklyn, New York, pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Cato admitted that on November 20, 2018 he was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped on the East End of Charleston for a defective light. Upon officers approaching the vehicle, they smelled marijuana. All occupants were asked to step out of the vehicle. Cato stepped out of the vehicle and ran from the traffic stop on foot. While fleeing, he put his hands near his hoody pocket and was apprehended. During a pat-down for officer safety, officers located a Smith & Wesson 32 caliber pistol. Cato admitted he knew he had a 2003 felony conviction in the Southern District of West Virginia for distribution of cocaine base. Cato faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced on January 27, 2020. Assistant United States Attorney Ryan A. Saunders is handling the prosecution.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Charleston Police Department conducted the investigations of Stevenson and Cato.
Gary Scott, 35, of St. Albans, was sentenced to 46 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Scott previously admitted that on April 23, 2019, in St. Albans, he was driving a vehicle while under the influence of narcotics. He eventually parked at a Go-Mart, got out of the vehicle, and left the passenger in the vehicle. Officers eventually located Scott in the alley near the Go-Mart. Scott admitted to the officers that he had marijuana on his person. Officers searched him and found syringes, marijuana, Alprazolam, heroin, and methamphetamine. Officers detained Scott and transported him back to his vehicle. As they pulled up to the vehicle, Scott told the officers that he had a firearm in the glove box and that he knew that he was not allowed to possess firearms because he is a convicted felon. During a search of the vehicle, officers located a .357 Braztech revolver loaded with five rounds in the glove box. They also located a box of ammunition in the vehicle. The St. Albans Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Monica D. Coleman handled the prosecution.
These cases are being prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.