BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – Two more pleas, both from Beckley women have been made following the federal indictment against 13 people allegedly involved in trafficking guns from Southern WV to Philadelphia.
Two women pleaded guilty today, July 21, 2022, to being involved in the Beckley to Philadelphia gun trafficking via straw purchases of guns. Lakeshia Nicole Simon, 23, and Tyana Bly, also known as “Biggie,” 22, both of Beckley, each pleaded guilty today to straw purchasing roles in a conspiracy to traffic over 130 firearms from the Beckley area 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. Simon and Bly are among the 13 individuals indicted in connection with the conspiracy to traffic over 130 firearms from the Beckley area to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. More than 40 of the firearms have been recovered in Philadelphia and have been connected to two homicides, crimes of domestic violence, and other violent crimes.
According to court information, Simon and Bly each admitted to straw purchasing firearms in Beckley for Bisheem Jones, also known as “Bosh.” Jones provided Bly with money to buy the firearms and told her which ones to buy, and did the same with Simon through an intermediary.
Simon admitted to purchasing two Ruger Model Ruger 57, 5.7x28mm 5.7-caliber pistols for Jones on April 20, 2021. Simon also admitted to buying at least three additional firearms for Jones in April 2021 so he and others could transport and resell them outside of West Virginia.
Bly admitted to buying two SCCY CPX-2 9mm pistols and a Taurus G3C 9mm pistol for Jones in Beckley on April 2, 2021. Bly further admitted to purchasing at least five firearms for Jones in March and April 2021 so he and others could transport and resell them outside of West Virginia.
Simon and Bly pleaded guilty to making false statements in acquisition of firearms, admitting they falsely certified on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Federal Firearms Transaction Records Form 4473 that they were the buyers of the firearms while knowing they were purchasing the firearms for someone else.
Stephanie Cohernour, Arileah Lacy, and Terri Lawhorn previously admitted to making straw purchases in the conspiracy, pleading guilty to making false statements in acquisition of firearms. Co-defendant Derrick Woodard pleaded guilty to interstate travel with the intent to engage in dealing firearms without a license. The case remains pending against Jones and five other co-defendants. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Simon is scheduled to be sentenced on December 2, 2022, and Bly is scheduled to be sentenced on November 10, 2022. Each faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.