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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

West Virginia Drug Felon Man Pleads Guilty to Illegally Possessing a Pistol

PITTSBURGH – A West Virginia resident pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of violating federal firearms laws, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Joseph Albert Cummins, 24, of Elkins, West Virginia, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge David Cercone.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on November 17, 2017, Cummins, a felon, possessed a firearm, namely a 9mm caliber Ruger pistol, which was loaded with 9mm caliber ammunition. Federal law prohibits Cummins from possessing a firearm and ammunition due to his 2014 conviction in the Superior Court of New Jersey for a felony drug offense.

Judge Cercone scheduled sentencing for December 7, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Jerome A. Moschetta is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

Agents from the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Pennsylvania State Police, and Ross Township Police Department conducted the investigation leading to the prosecution of Cummins.

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated July 23, 2018