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Press Release

District Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Firearms Offense

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Threatened Man with Gun Aboard Metro Train Prior to Arrest

            WASHINGTON – John Maurice West, 29, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty today to a federal firearms charge stemming from his possession of a loaded firearm on June 27, 2022, aboard a Metrorail train and in the 1700 block of 8th Street NW, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Chief Michael Anzallo, of the Metro Transit Police Department, and Chief Robert J. Contee III, of the Metropolitan Police Department.

            West pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition by a person convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.  Judge Jia M. Cobb scheduled a sentencing hearing for September 8, 2023. 

            According to the government’s evidence, on June 27, 2022, West threatened another man with a gun while aboard a Metrorail train at the Gallery Place–Chinatown Metro Station.  The victim disembarked at the next station and reported the offense.  Surveillance footage revealed that West exited the Metro at the Shaw–Howard University station and ran into the 1700 block of 8th Street NW, in the District’s Shaw neighborhood.  Surveillance footage also depicted West in and around the entryway of an apartment building in that block moments before his arrest.  Police canvassed the area and found a loaded, semi-automatic handgun concealed in a drainage pipe.  Subsequent DNA testing and analysis linked both the handgun and its magazine to West. 

            West was arrested on June 27, 2022, and has remained in custody ever since.

            Federal law prohibits West from possessing a firearm because, in 2014, he was convicted in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia of possession with intent to distribute cocaine while armed with a firearm.

            West faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentence imposed in this case will be determined by the Court after considering the United States Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

            In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Graves, Chief Anzallo, and Chief Contee commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metro Transit and Metropolitan Police Departments.  They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Karla Nunez.

            Finally, they commended the efforts of Assistant United States Attorneys Paul V. Courtney and Thomas G. Strong, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

Updated May 18, 2023

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 23-266