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Press Release

Two Charleston men sentenced to federal prison for gun crimes

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two Charleston men were sentenced today to federal prison for gun crimes, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto.

Joseph Sampson, 36, was sentenced to two years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was also sentenced to an additional six months in prison for violating his federal supervised release. The sentences will be served consecutively. Sampson admitted that on May 8, 2016, he was found in possession of a New England Arms 12 gauge short-barreled shotgun. The firearm was discovered during a traffic stop in Charleston. Sampson was prohibited from possessing any firearm under federal law because of a 2003 felony drug conviction in federal court in the Southern District of West Virginia.

In a separate prosecution, Michael Brooks Burgess, 46, was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine for possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance. On February 8, 2016, Burgess was stopped for speeding and a suspected DUI in Sissonville. During the stop, officers found a vial of methamphetamine in his pocket and over 30 grams of methamphetamine under the driver’s seat. The officers searched the vehicle and found a loaded .45 caliber handgun, three high capacity magazines for a MAC-10 firearm, approximately 50 rounds of ammunition, and over an ounce of marijuana in the trunk of the vehicle. Burgess admitted that he was a habitual, unlawful user of methamphetamine at the time he possessed the gun.

The Charleston Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation of Sampson. Assistant United States Attorney John J. Frail is responsible for the Sampson prosecution. The investigation of Burgess was conducted by the FBI, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department, with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorney Haley Bunn is in charge of the Burgess prosecution. United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., imposed the sentences.

These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in the United States by networking existing local programs targeting gun crime.

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Updated November 15, 2016

Project Safe Neighborhoods