BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – Two more pleas have been made 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, June 27, 2022, a Pennsylvania man and a West Virginia woman pleaded guilty today, June 27, 2022, to roles in a conspiracy to traffic over 130 firearms from the Beckley area to Philadelphia. 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.
Derrick Woodard, also known as “D,” 26, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to interstate travel with the intent to engage in dealing firearms without a license. Stephanie Cohernour, 33, of Fayetteville, pleaded guilty to making false statements in acquisition of firearms.
According to court information, Woodard admitted to traveling to Beckley with Bisheem Jones, also known as “Bosh,” and several other co-defendants on October 17, 2020, to obtain firearms with plans to resell them for profit in Philadelphia. Cohernour admitted to straw purchasing firearms in Beckley for Jones, and that through an intermediary Jones provided the money for her to buy the firearms and told her which ones to buy.
Cohernour admitted to buying a Glock Model 19 Gen 5, 9mm pistol and a Glock, Model 19X, 9mm pistol for Jones on April 12, 2021. Cohernour admitted to lying on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Federal Firearms Transaction Records Form 4473 when she certified that she was the buyer of the firearms, knowing she was purchasing the firearms for someone else.
Co-defendants Arileah Lacy, also known as “Leah,” and Terri Lawhorn previously pleaded guilty to making false statements in acquisition of firearms. The case remains pending against Jones and four 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.
Woodard and Cohernour are scheduled to be sentenced on December 2, 2022. Woodard faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. Cohernour faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
United States Attorney for the Southern District of WV Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the ATF’s investigative work in the case.