CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two Charleston men that were arrested on criminal complaints in February 2021 pleaded guilty today to federal gun charges.
According to court documents, Devonte Lavauhn Andrews, 28, was stopped by officers with the Charleston Police Department on January 24, 2021 while walking on Hale Street. At the time, Andrews had a Taurus PT 738 .380 ACP loaded firearm behind his back. Andrews has a 2016 federal felony conviction for distribution of heroin and is prohibited from possessing firearms.
Also according to court documents, on February 10, 2021, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the Charleston residence of William Edward Byers II, 44, and located five firearms. Byers is prohibited from possessing firearms due to a 2016 felony conviction in Kanawha County Circuit Court for conspiracy to manufacture, deliver or possess a controlled substance with the intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance.
Andrews and Byers both pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and are scheduled to be sentenced on July 22 and July 21, 2021, respectively. Each faces up to 10 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston of the Southern District of West Virginia made the announcement.
The long-term investigation, dubbed the “Woo Boyz,” resulted in federal charges against 15 individuals and was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Charleston Police Department, and the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT), with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service and the West Virginia State Police. The Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (AHIDTA) provided critical support to the investigative agencies.
Senior United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. presided over the hearings. Assistant United States Attorney Monica D. Coleman is prosecuting the cases.
The investigation was part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and is the keystone of the Department of Justice’s drug reduction strategy. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking organizations, transnational criminal organizations, and money laundering organizations that present a significant threat to the public safety, economic, or national security of the United States.
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. 2:21-cr-00046 (Andrews) and 2:21-cr-00047 (Byers).