CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Mike Stuart announced that Lenville Jason Porter, 36, of Lincoln County, was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Stuart commended the investigative work of the West Hamlin Police Department, notably Lt. J.J. Napier, the Lincoln County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), who assisted the West Hamlin Police Department with the trace and testing of the firearm.
Porter admitted that on October 15, 2018, he was removing engine parts from a car when he was seen by Lt. Napier of the West Hamlin Police Department. Suspicious that he was observing Porter commit theft, Lt. Napier investigated and asked if he could pat Porter down for officer safety. Porter admitted he had a gun prior to the pat down search. Lt. Napier physically recovered a Phoenix Arms .22 pistol from the defendant’s pocket. The gun was loaded and capable of shooting. A records check revealed that Porter was convicted in 2013 of two prior felony offenses in Lincoln County: third degree arson and destruction of a public utility. Porter had neither been pardoned nor had his civil right to possess a firearm restored. Additional records checks of the firearm by the ATF confirmed the gun had traveled in interstate commerce. The ATF also confirmed the functionality of the firearm.
Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorney Erik S. Goes handled the prosecution.
This case is 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. 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. 2:20-cr-00120.