CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Three men charged with federal gun crimes appeared in court this week, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart.
John Miller, 23, of Charleston, was sentenced to 25 months in prison for making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, possession of a firearm in a school zone, and discharge of a firearm in a school zone. On April 7, 2019, Miller went to Cabela’s near Corridor G in Charleston, which is a licensed firearm dealer, and purchased a Taurus G2C 9 mm pistol. Prior to purchasing the firearm, he checked “no” in response to a question on the DOJ ATF Firearms Transaction Record Form 4473 indicating he was not an unlawful user of and addicted to a controlled substance, but he knew that to be a false statement as he was an unlawful user of and addicted to marijuana. Shortly after purchasing the firearm, he took it within a distance of 1,000 feet of Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School and discharged it during a drug deal. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Charleston Police Department conducted the investigation. United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorney Negar M. Kordestani and former Assistant United States Attorney Ryan A. Saunders handled the prosecution.
Earlier this week, two Huntington men pled guilty to gun crimes before United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers.
Craig Eatmon, also known as “Fresh,” age 41, pled guilty to two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Eatmon admitted that on May 19 and June 17, 2019, he sold a firearm at Tri-State Pawn and Jewelry on 4th Avenue in Huntington. At the time he sold the firearms, he had been convicted of a drug related felony and malicious destruction of property in Wayne County, Michigan. As a result of those convictions, Eatmon was prohibited from possessing the firearms. Eatmon faces up to 10 years in prison on each count when sentenced on January 11, 2021. The ATF conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Greg McVey is handling the prosecution.
Jeffrey L. Hodgens, 42, entered a guilty plea to theft of a firearm. Hodgens admitted that on March 24, 2019, he entered a vehicle that was parked in the 1100 block of 4th Avenue in Huntington where he located a Colt, 5.56 mm rifle. Hodgens stole the rifle and admitted that he subsequently traded it to another person in Huntington in exchange for methamphetamine. When the rifle was later recovered, it was determined that the rifle was capable of firing as a fully automatic machinegun. Hodgens faces up to 10 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on January 11, 2021. The investigation was conducted by the ATF and the Huntington Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Joseph F. Adams is handling the prosecution.
These cases are 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 has prosecuted this case with support from the Project Guardian partners referenced 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 Nos. 2:19-cr-00270 (Miller), 3:20-cr-00104 (Eatmon), and 3:19-cr-00297 (Hodgens).