Six-time Baltimore Felon Exiled to 15 Years in Prison For Illegally Possessing a Gun

June 22, 2010

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Lionel Eric Rice, age 28, of Baltimore, today to 15 years in prison followed by four years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a gun. Judge Bennett enhanced Rice’s sentence upon finding that he is an armed career criminal based on his previous conviction for assault and five previous convictions for distribution of cocaine.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Joseph Riehl 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 Rice’s plea agreement, on March 18, 2009, a team of Southwest District of Baltimore City police officers, who were patrolling an area known to be an open air drug market, pulled over a car for driving without license tag lights. Rice was a passenger in the car. The driver, Rice’s girlfriend, was not able to produce her license. Rice was also not able to produce any identification. Rice began to reach for his right side, and ignored the officer’s repeated instructions to get out of the car and to keep his hands in front of him. The officer opened the passenger door and reached to Rice’s right side, where he removed a gun and passed it to another officer, who removed the ammunition. Rice was arrested.

Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant U.S. Attorney Bonnie S. Greenberg, who prosecuted this case and thanked Baltimore City Assistant State’s Attorney Andrew Kowalczyk for his assistance in this investigation and prosecution.


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