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Description: Huntington, West Virginia criminal law lawyer represented Defendant charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
On November 10, 2021, law enforcement officers observed multiple suspected hand-to-hand drug transactions at a Fifth Avenue residence in Huntington involving an individual later identified as Churtis Leroy Hayes, age 47, from Huntington. When Hayes left the residence in a vehicle, officers initiated a traffic stop of the vehicle. Hayes was arrested, and officers found approximately 6.4 grams of suspected heroin on his person. Hayes admitted to officers that he had been selling heroin for several months. Officers executed a search warrant at Hayes’ residence that day and recovered a loaded Bryco Arms, Jennings Model Nine 9mm pistol in his bedroom.
Federal law prohibits a person with a prior felony conviction from possessing a firearm or ammunition. Hayes knew he was prohibited from possessing a firearm because of his convictions for first-degree murder and second-degree murder in Cabell County Circuit Court on December 19, 1995, and for possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime in United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on March 27, 1995.
United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the Huntington Violent Crime and Drug Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorney Ryan A. Keefe prosecuted the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.
Outcome: Defendant was sentenced today to four years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.