Carrsville man headed back to prison on firearm charges

Published 5:23 pm Friday, March 3, 2023

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A Carrsville man is headed back to prison for illegally possessing 14 firearms and over 2,000 rounds of ammunition.

U.S. District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen sentenced 36-year-old Ronald Devon Matthews on Feb. 24 to six years and nine months behind bars. He’d pleaded guilty in September to charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

According to a court affidavit, Matthews was convicted in Pennsylvania of carrying a firearm without a license in 2018 – a felony in that state. Matthews was rearrested in 2021 after Isle of Wight County sheriff’s deputies and Virginia State Police searched his home and found a 12-gauge semiautomatic shotgun and ammunition under a sofa, as well as methamphetamines. They also found a gun safe in Matthews’ bedroom that contained a bulletproof vest, firearm magazines, ammunition, “Wheels of Soul” outlaw motorcycle gang paraphernalia and two 9mm semi-automatic pistols, and additional ammunition in a 2019 Ford F350 pickup truck.

It was the pickup truck that initially drew deputies to Matthews’ residence. The truck had been reported stolen out of Tennessee and registered in Virginia under a fake Alabama title, according to a search warrant and accompanying affidavit filed last year in Portsmouth’s Circuit Court.

Deputies came to suspect Matthews of being a high-ranking member of a Portsmouth-based “Wheels of Soul” chapter, and had searched a Portsmouth business last year believed to be the group’s clubhouse. According to the U.S. Department of Justice website, outlaw motorcycle gangs are organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for violent crime, weapons trafficking and drug trafficking. Matthews is a “known member” of Wheels of Soul, according to U.S. District Court documents.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Matthews called an accomplice from jail and asked that person to clean out his storage unit in Franklin. The following day, deputies searched Matthews’ storage unit and discovered four rifles, four pistols, one shotgun, over 2,000 rounds of ammunition, 2.2 kilograms of marijuana and a digital scale bearing methamphetamine residue. Two firearms were affixed with devices the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives later determined to be illegal firearm silencers.

Per the plea agreement, Matthews will forfeit 14 firearms and over 2,000 rounds of ammunition and be supervised for three years upon his release.