Sayles admitted that on September 18, 2020, he was a passenger in a vehicle that crashed on Washington Street, East in Charleston. When responding officers conducted a pat down of Sayles, they located a Ruger LC9, 9mm pistol in his jacket pocket. Sayles admitted to police officers that he knew he was prohibited from possessing the gun because of two prior felony convictions. In 2016, Sayles was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia and, in 2002, he was convicted in Kanawha County Circuit Court of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. Sayles was still serving a term of federal supervised release in connection with the 2016 conviction.
Sayles faces up to 12 years in federal prison when sentenced on February 4, 2021.
The Charleston Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted the investigation. United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Negar Kordestani is handling the prosecution.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.