BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – Another guilty plea was made following following the federal indictment against 13 people allegedly involved in trafficking guns from Southern WV to Philadelphia.
A federal indictment consisting of 19 charges against 13 different people was made in March. The case involved the conspiracy to traffic more than 130 guns from Southern West Virginia to Philadelphia, PA. According to Thompson, suspects from Philadelphia recruited people in Southern WV to make straw purchases of guns from shops around the region. Straw purchasing is when someone legally buys a gun without revealing the true identity of the final purchaser, who otherwise could not buy a gun legally.
Today, October 28, 2022, Hassan Abdullah, also known as “San,” 28, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to interstate travel with the intent to engage in dealing firearms without a license. Abdullah admitted to a role in a conspiracy to traffic over 140 firearms from the Beckley area to Philadelphia.
According to court information, on October 17, 2020, Abdullah traveled from Philadelphia to Beckley with co-defendants Bisheem Jones, also known as “Bosh,” Derrick Woodard, also known as “D,” and Shyheem Woodard-Smith, also known as “Peanut” or “Nut,” and obtained firearms that were later sold for a profit in Philadelphia. Abdullah admitted to obtaining these firearms with the other traffickers from a Beckley gun store.
Abdullah also admitted to obtaining over 140 firearms with Jones, Woodard-Smith and Woodard from early 2020 until at least mid-2021. 45 of those trafficked firearms were recovered at crime scenes primarily in Philadelphia, and have been connected to two homicides, crimes of domestic violence, and other violent offenses.
Abdullah is scheduled to be sentenced on February 10, 2023 and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
Woodard previously pleaded guilty to interstate travel with the intent to engage in dealing firearms without a license. Seven other co-defendants have pleaded guilty to making false statements in acquisition of firearms, admitting to making straw purchases in the conspiracy. An additional seven individuals have pleaded guilty to firearms offenses related to the same interstate gun trafficking conspiracy.
“The illegal trafficking of firearms has harmful, real-world consequences both here in the Southern District of West Virginia and in communities throughout our nation. This office is committed to halting the flow of illegally obtained firearms and the violence they fuel. I commend the investigative work of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the ongoing prosecution of this large-scale case by Assistant United States Attorney Negar M. Kordestani.”United States Attorney Will Thompson