Parkersburg woman who bought gun illegally pleads guilty to identity theft

CHARLESTON — A Parkersburg woman pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft in connection with illegally obtaining a firearm, United States Attorney Mike Stuart said.

Erica Nicole Blake, 36, pleaded before Senior United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr.

On Nov. 10, 2017, Blake used a West Virginia driver’s license belonging to another person as a means of photo identification during the purchase of a KAHR Arms .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol from a licensed firearms dealer in Parkersburg, Stuart said.

Blake used the stolen identification to fraudulently pass the background check, Stuart said.

Blake was prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm as a result of having been convicted of felony forgery and uttering in 2012, Stuart said.

“Blake knows she is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a gun due to her previous felony conviction,” said Stuart. “So she tried to pass off as someone else. We prosecute those who lie to buy firearms.”

On Dec. 6, 2017, approximately three weeks after Blake purchased the pistol, a Parkersburg police officer recovered it from Mark Matthew Smith during a traffic stop on Wood Street, Stuart said. Blake was driving the vehicle and Smith was a passenger, Stuart said.

An officer located the pistol in the floorboard where Smith was sitting, Stuart said. Smith was wearing a concealed carry holster for the pistol, he said.

Smith has felony convictions of forgery and uttering as well as grand larceny, Stuart said. He has been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and is set for trial on June 25, Stuart said.

Blake faces a mandatory sentence of two years in federal prison when she is sentenced on Aug. 14, Stuart said. Assistant United States Attorney Joshua C. Hanks is responsible for the prosecution.

Stuart commended the investigative efforts of the Parkersburg Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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