HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an Ohio man pleaded guilty in connection with multiple shots fired into a Huntington, West Virginia, housing community in 2021.
Court records confirm that Austin Bruce Jeffreys, 28, of Ohio, spoke on a recorded phone call with an inmate at Western Regional Jail. The DOJ says the inmate asked Jeffreys to go to a Huntington home and retrieve suboxone that belonged to the inmate.
Jeffreys admitted he told the inmate he would retrieve the drugs while carrying a loaded pistol, according to the DOJ. When he and an accomplice arrived at the residence, a shootout occurred.
The DOJ says that Jeffreys, in another recorded phone call with the aforementioned inmate, admitted to his involvement in the shooting. Jeffreys was arrested and once again admitted his connection with the shooting and that he was recovering drugs intended for selling.
Jeffreys pleaded guilty to the following charges:
- Using and carrying a firearm during/in relation to a drug trafficking crime; and
- Conspiracy to use and carry a firearm during/in relation to a drug trafficking crime.
Jeffreys will be sentenced on Feb. 13 and faces from five years to life in prison, plus five years of supervised release and a $500,000 fine.
The inmate, Jacob Benjamin Loper, 21, also pleaded guilty to the following charges:
- Attempted possession with intent to distribute suboxone; and
- Conspiracy to use a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
On May 9, Loper was sentenced to two years and six months in prison.
According to U.S. Attorney Will Thompson, the investigative agencies of this case included the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the West Virginia State Police, the Huntington Police Department, and the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation Investigations Unit.
This case was a part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, the DOJ’s effort to reduce violence by identifying community crime problems and working to solve them.
A copy of the press release on this case can be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia.
An earlier article about this case can be viewed on WOWK 13 News by clicking here.