Two More Plead Guilty to Participating in Beckley-to-Philadelphia Firearms Trafficking Conspiracy

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

BECKLEY, W.Va. – A Pennsylvania man and a West Virginia woman pleaded guilty today to roles in a conspiracy to traffic over 130 firearms from the Beckley area to Philadelphia.

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 documents and statements made in court, 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.

Jones is separately charged in the gun trafficking conspiracy indictment, which alleges that Cohernour and other straw purchasers bought over 130 firearms in or near Beckley during the scheme and delivered them to others in the conspiracy for transfer 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.

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. Cohernour faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the ATF’s investigative work.

United States District Judge Frank W. Volk presided over the hearings. Assistant United States Attorney Negar M. Kordestani is prosecuting the case.

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. 5:22-cr-46.

 

 

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