BECKLEY, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Lakeshia Nicole Simon, 23, of Beckley, was sentenced today to five years of federal probation for making false statements in acquisition of firearms. Simon admitted to a straw purchasing role in a conspiracy to traffic over 140 firearms from the Beckley area to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Simon purchased firearms in Beckley for co-defendant Bisheem Jones, also known as “Bosh,” who told Simon which ones to buy and provided the money for the purchases through an intermediary.
On April 20, 2021, Simon purchased two Ruger Model Ruger 57, 5.7x28mm 5.7-caliber pistols for Jones. Simon further admitted to buying at least two additional firearms for Jones in April 2021 so he and others could transport and resell them outside of West Virginia.
Simon admitted that for each purchase, she falsely certified on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Federal Firearms Transaction Records Form 4473 that she was the buyer of the firearms when she knew she was purchasing the firearms for someone else.
On March 3, 2022, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Simon, Jones and 11 other individuals in the firearms trafficking conspiracy. Three co-defendants have pleaded guilty to interstate travel with the intent to engage in dealing firearms without a license. A fourth pleaded guilty to conspiracy to travel interstate with the intent to engage in dealing firearms without a license. Simon is among seven defendants who have pleaded guilty to making false statements in acquisition of firearms. An additional seven individuals have pleaded guilty to firearms offenses related to the firearm trafficking conspiracy.
Of the over 140 firearms trafficked in the conspiracy, approximately 45 have been recovered at crime scenes primarily in Philadelphia and have been connected to two homicides, crimes of domestic violence, and other violent offenses.
Thompson commended the investigative work of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
United States District Judge Frank W. Volk imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorney Negar M. Kordestani is prosecuting the case.
Jones and co-conspirator Shakyrah Ross are scheduled for trial on December 12, 2022. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.