A Charleston man was sentenced this week to 10 years in federal prison for drug and gun crimes, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. A jury previously found Charles York Walker, Jr., 39, guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Walker also pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing heroin and one count of distributing fentanyl. U.S. Attorney Stuart commended the investigative efforts of the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team, assisted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the West Virginia Regional Jail Authority.
During the trial, witnesses testified that Walker was arrested in Charleston by the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team on July 14, 2017. A search warrant was later executed at Walker’s apartment on Washington Street, West, and officers seized Walker’s cell phone and two handguns. Law enforcement obtained a search warrant for Walker’s cell phone and discovered photos linking Walker to one of the handguns. A witness testified that he saw Walker pistol whip an individual with a .38 revolver, which was the same type of gun as one of the firearms seized from Walker’s apartment. Walker was prohibited from possessing any firearm under federal law because of a 1997 federal drug conviction, a 1998 state conviction for wanton endangerment, and a 2010 federal conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
In addition to the firearms charged in the superseding indictment, Walker was also charged with three counts of distributing drugs. On the first day of trial, Walker pled guilty to the three drug counts, admitting that he sold drugs in Charleston on three separate occasions. He admitted to selling heroin to a confidential informant working with law enforcement on April 14, 2016, on the railroad tracks close to Beuhring Avenue. He also admitted that he sold fentanyl to a confidential informant on June 23, 2016, in a drug deal that began at the KFC on Washington Street, West. Walker additionally admitted that on July 12, 2016, he sold heroin to a confidential informant at the apartment on Washington Street, West.
“Walker is justifiably headed to prison for a long time,” stated U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart. “If you sell illegal drugs or if you violate gun laws, I will do all I can to send you to prison for as long as we possibly can.”
Assistant United States Attorneys Steven I. Loew and Clint Carte are in charge of the prosecution and tried the case before a federal jury. United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin imposed the sentence and presided over the trial.
This prosecution was 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. This case is also part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of prescription drugs and heroin. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down illegal pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of opiate painkillers and heroin in communities across the Southern District.