HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A Beckley man has pled guilty to a federal gun crime, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Justin J. Monroe, 34, pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Monroe admitted that on September 20, 2019, a vehicle in which he was a passenger was stopped by the West Virginia State Police for speeding along Interstate 64 near Hurricane. Troopers later searched the vehicle, which was being driven by an inebriated driver, and recovered a Glock model 23 .40 caliber pistol. Monroe claimed ownership of the firearm on the scene, and later admitted to law enforcement that he knew he was a convicted felon which barred him from possessing the firearm, but that he chose to keep it for protection. Monroe has two prior felony convictions in Raleigh County Circuit Court.
Monroe faces a maximum of 10 years in prison when sentenced on November 16, 2020.
The West Virginia State Police conducted the investigation. United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Negar M. Kordestani is handling the prosecution.
The case is being prosecuted as part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. The United States Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case with support from the Project Guardian partners noted above. For more information about Project Guardian, please see: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.
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. 3:20-cr-00047.