Thursday, September 9, 2010
Department of Justice
Acting United States Attorney Gregg L. Sullivan Eastern District of Tennessee
MATTHEW PICKETT PLEADS GUILTY TO SMUGGLING
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --Matthew Pickett, of Cleveland, Tennessee, pleaded guilty today, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga, to smuggling firearms in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 545. Sentencing has been set for January 20, 2011, at 9:00 a.m., in United States District Court in Chattanooga.
Pickett faces a maximum possible term of 20 years in prison; a $250,000 fine; supervised release for up to three (3) years; any lawful restitution; and a $100 special assessment.
Matthew Pickett was a United States Marine who deployed to Iraq in June 2004. While deployed to Iraq, he and others in his unit confiscated numerous weapons from Iraqis. Pickett returned to the United States in February 2005, and smuggled two "AK-47" firearms from Iraq as well as some hand grenades. Pickett and others were able to smuggle these items into the United States by hiding the weapons in the fuel tank of a vehicle. When he returned to Camp Pendleton, California, he retrieved the AK-47's and carried them to his home in Bradley County, Tennessee. Picket was employed as a deputy with the Bradley County Sheriff’s Department. In or about July and August 2009, Pickett sold one of the AK-47's to another individual in Bradley County.
The information to which Pickett pleaded guilty was the result of an ongoing investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Naval Criminal Investigative Services and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Brooks represented the United States.