CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two men pleaded guilty today to federal weapons charges, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. Steven Jones, 31, of Ripley, entered his guilty plea to possession of an unregistered weapon. In a separate prosecution, Jamie Edward Smith, 30, of Montgomery, entered his guilty plea to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Jones admitted that on November 6, 2017, law enforcement executed a search warrant at his residence in Ripley and located a metal pipe bomb, gunpowder, and other items used for a destructive device. Jones admitted in a Mirandized interview that he had built the pipe bomb, along with two others he had detonated on his property. The pipe bomb was not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.
In a separate prosecution, Smith admitted that on December 20, 2016, he possessed a Raven Arms .25 caliber semiautomatic pistol at a Montgomery apartment complex. Smith was prohibited from possessing any firearms under federal law because of a 2008 felony conviction in Fayette County Circuit Court for breaking and entering.
Both defendants face up to 10 years in federal prison. Jones is scheduled to be sentenced on March 19, 2018. Smith is scheduled to be sentenced on March 22, 2018.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, the West Virginia State Police, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation of Jones. Assistant United States Attorney Joshua C. Hanks is in charge of the Jones prosecution. The plea hearing for Jones was held before United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin.
The investigation of Smith was conducted by the Montgomery Police Department, the West Virginia State Police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorney Matt Davis is responsible for the Smith prosecution. United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., presided over Smith’s plea hearing.
These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in the United States by networking with existing local programs targeting gun crime.