Baltimore Felon Exiled to over 15 Years in Prison for Possessing Ammunition

Felon in Possession of a Loaded Antique Gun Sentenced for Possessing the Gun’s Ammunition

December 10, 2010

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Thomas Royal, age 30, of Baltimore, today to 188 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of ammunition. Judge Bennett enhanced Royal’s sentence upon finding that he is an armed career criminal based on three previous convictions for drugs and assault.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Theresa R. Stoop of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy; and Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III.

According to testimony presented at the two day trial, on January 8, 2009 Baltimore Police Department officers saw a car in which Royal was a passenger being driven in the 3500 block of Park Heights Avenue in Baltimore with an expired temporary registration tag. The officers stopped the car.

The officers saw Royal put his hand in his front jacket pocket despite having been ordered to keep his hands visible. Royal argued with the officers and refused to exit the vehicle. When Royal removed his hand from his jacket pocket, an officer noticed a bulge in the pocket. An officer again asked Royal to exit the vehicle. When the officer opened the passenger door for Royal to exit the car, Royal rushed out and attempted to flee. A brief struggle ensued and another officer deployed his taser device into Royal’s back. Royal was placed on the ground and handcuffed. Officers seized a .32 caliber gun loaded with five rounds of .32 caliber ammunition from Royal’s jacket pocket.

Royal had previously been convicted of a felony and thus, was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition. The gun recovered from Royal was manufactured prior to 1899 and is an “antique firearm.” A convicted felon may legally possess an antique gun, but not the ammunition described above.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended ATF, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in this investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney John W. Sippel, who prosecuted the case.

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