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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 Possessed Firearms and Fentanyl with Child in Backseat of Vehicle

            WASHINGTON – John Michael Wilcox, 36, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty today to a federal firearms charge stemming from his possession of a loaded firearm on July 12, 2022, while driving a vehicle near Nationals Park, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Chief Jessica M.E. Taylor, of the United States Park Police.

            Wilcox 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 Dabney L. Friedrich scheduled a sentencing hearing for January 9, 2024. 

            According to court papers, on July 12, 2022, at approximately 10:00 p.m., Wilcox was driving a black SUV with an obstructed Florida dealer tag in violation of District of Columbia law. United States Park Police officers initiated a traffic stop of the vehicle at South Capitol Street and O Street SW, near Nationals Park. As officers approached the vehicle, Wilcox held a military identification card out of the driver’s side window that was determined not to belong to him. While interacting with Wilcox, an officer observed a clear plastic bag containing suspected narcotics protruding from Wilcox’s front shorts pocket. Officers recovered the plastic bag from Wilcox’s pocket, which contained numerous smaller bags, all containing a tan powder that was determined to be fentanyl. Officers also recovered a clear plastic bag, which contained a white, rock-like substance that was determined to be cocaine base. Officers searched the vehicle after removing an adult female from the front passenger seat and a child from the backseat. From the glove compartment, officers recovered a loaded .32 caliber pistol and plastic bags, which contained a pink powder substance determined to be additional fentanyl. Officers also recovered miscellaneous firearms parts from the vehicle, including a .32 caliber firearm slide, barrel, and spring, as well as an assault-style rifle with an obliterated serial number. During the search of the vehicle, Wilcox stated multiple times that everything in the car belonged to him.

            On May 17, 2023, following his indictment by a federal grand jury, Wilcox was arrested pursuant to a warrant issued by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He has remained in custody ever since.

            Federal law prohibits Wilcox from possessing a firearm because he has multiple convictions from the Commonwealth of Virginia for which he was sentenced to terms of imprisonment exceeding one year.

            Wilcox 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.

            This case was investigated by the United States Park Police. Valuable assistance was provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

            This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Richard Kelley and Assistant United States Attorney Paul V. Courtney.

Updated September 26, 2023

Prescription Drugs
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 23-578