D O J Seal
U.S. Department of Justice

United States Attorney
Northern District of Texas

1100 Commerce St., 3rd Fl.
Dallas, Texas 75242-1699

 
 

 

Telephone (214) 659-8600
Fax (214) 767-0978

 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DALLAS, TEXAS
CONTACT: 214/659-8600
www.usdoj.gov/usao/txn
DECEMBER 14, 2006
   

NUCLEAR COURIER ASSIGNED TO PANTEX FACILITY
SENTENCED TO 30 MONTHS IMPRISONMENT

United States Attorney Richard B. Roper announced that Joe Allen Sizemore was sentenced today in Amarillo, Texas, by United States District Judge Mary Lou Robinson, to serve 30 months in federal prison. Judge Robinson also ordered that Sizemore pay $8,489 restitution to the government and a $10,000 fine. Sizemore, age 41, was employed as a Nuclear Material Courier for the Office of Secure Transportation (OST) under the Department of Energy (DOE) and was assigned to the Pantex Plant in Amarillo. Sizemore pled guilty in October to one count of wire fraud and one count of possession of unregistered firearms. Judge Robinson ordered that Sizemore surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on January 8, 2007.

The Pantex Plant is a nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly facility owned by the DOE. Couriers are employed to safeguard and transport nuclear weapons, components, special nuclear materials, and any other mission that supports the national security of the United States. Couriers receive extensive training to carry out their functions and can use highly restricted weaponry when training and to carry out their duties. Also, couriers obtain equipment, including body armor, firearms, night scopes and other weaponry restricted to government, law enforcement and military personnel, agreeing to return any such equipment to DOE that has been provided to them in the course of their employment.

According to documents filed in court, in 2005, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) became aware that Joe Sizemore had sold government property that was restricted for sale only to the military and to law enforcement. The investigation found that, between 2001 and 2005, Sizemore used his position as a federal law enforcement officer to obtain restricted items from DOE armorers and also purchased government/law enforcement restricted items from firearm manufacturers with his own funds at a reduced cost and was re-selling these items, often on the Internet, to the public to make a profit. These restricted items were limited by the seller to law enforcement officers with official agency letterhead for official duty use. Sizemore authored DOE/OST letters that were presented for signature to DOE supervisors. After the supervisors signed the letters, Sizemore then faxed them to suppliers to purchase military and law enforcement restricted firearms equipment. The equipment included hard-to-find 50-round drums or high capacity magazines, upper receivers used on automatic assault rifles, rifle scopes and body armor. All the items were paid for with Sizemore’s private funds.

The federal prohibition against the possession of the high capacity magazines ended September 4, 2004. Sizemore subsequently sold the items to the general public for personal gain and received approximately $14,800 as a result of this scheme.

On October 20, 2005, Sizemore’s residence in Amarillo was searched and law enforcement found a large volume of weapons, parts, firearms and ammunition at the residence. He had three H&K 416 upper receivers, an H&K 50-round drum magazine, an EOTech sight and other items stamped US Government/Law Enforcement only items. Two of the firearms Sizemore possessed were fully automatic and not registered with the National Firearms Act Branch, as required by law.

U.S. Attorney Roper praised the investigative efforts of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Inspector General - Office of Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christy L. Drake of the Amarillo, Texas, United States Attorney’s Office.


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