MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A federal judge in West Virginia has ordered two men locked up for illegal gun possession while a third admitted having shotguns and a pistol prohibited by his prior drug and domestic violence convictions.
On Tuesday, two more men were indicted, accused of illegal firearm possession in West Virginia’s Northern District, where prosecutors brought about 70 gun cases last year. Most were investigated by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and local police.
“Many cases stem from initial encounters by local law enforcement officers such as arrests, vehicle stops and the execution of search warrants,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Bernard, chief of the office’s criminal division. “A number of firearms cases arise from other federal investigations like drug trafficking investigations where guns have become one of the tools of the drug trade. … Finally, a number of cases, particularly those involving false statements (or so-called ‘straw purchases’), are referred to the ATF by responsible dealers and/or federal firearms licensees.”
According to federal authorities and court documents, 45-year-old Jeffrey Moran, of Wheeling, West Virginia, pleaded guilty on Tuesday. He had a previous felony drug conviction and a misdemeanor for domestic violence that prohibit him from legally owning a gun. By law, he could face up to 10 years in prison at sentencing.
In other cases, Judge John Preston Bailey sentenced 40-year-old Archie Ray Arbogast, of Dunmore, to six months in jail on Monday for possessing a rifle last year despite a prior felony drug conviction.
Bailey gave 44-year-old Donald Ray Pyle, of Bridgeport, Ohio, a five-month sentence on Tuesday for the illegal interstate sale of a revolver to a West Virginia resident last year.
“Drug and firearm cases account for the majority of the matters prosecuted in this district,” Bernard said. “The ATF in the Northern District of West Virginia have consistently been very proactive and aggressive in pursuing crimes involving firearms, so the number of cases has remained somewhat steady over the years.”