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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

District Man Pleads Guilty to Firearm and Drug Trafficking Offense Committed While On Supervision for Firearm Conviction

Defendant Arrested Last Fall After Fleeing from Police

            WASHINGTON – Delonta Phillips, 28, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty today to a federal charge stemming from a police pursuit that led to the recovery of a loaded firearm and a significant quantity of marijuana from the vehicle he had been driving.

            The plea, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was announced by U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Thomas L. Chittum III, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Phillips pled guilty before the Honorable Senior Judge Thomas F. Hogan to one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. The plea agreement, which is contingent upon the Court’s approval, calls for a sentence of five years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. Judge Hogan scheduled a sentencing for May 30, 2018.

            According to the government’s evidence, on Oct. 11, 2017, at approximately 2:15 p.m., ATF agents and a MPD Task Force Officer conducted surveillance in the 3400 block of 24th Street SE for Phillips, who was the subject of pending warrants.

            Upon seeing Phillips, law enforcement attempted to arrest him. Phillips quickly entered the driver’s side door of a burgundy Cadillac DeVille and fled from law enforcement.  Agents immediately followed Phillips’s vehicle and put out a vehicle description over the radio. Agents observed the vehicle turn left onto Southern Avenue SE, right onto Naylor Road at Suitland Parkway, left onto eastbound Suitland Parkway, exit onto the Suitland Road off ramp, make a left onto Suitland Road, and finally come to a stop in the 3700 block of Regency Parkway, in Suitland, Md. Agents observed Phillips exit the front driver’s side door of the vehicle and flee on foot into the woods. An ATF agent pursued Phillips into the woods, while another agent remained with the vehicle and coordinated the response of multiple law enforcement officers in setting up a perimeter around the ravine to prevent Phillips’s escape.

            While securing the vehicle, agents observed a back pack on the driver’s side floor of the back seat. Inside the back pack, agents subsequently recovered a Glock 26, 9mm-caliber firearm, with an extended magazine containing 28 rounds of ammunition, and a jar and full gallon Ziploc bag of marijuana. At approximately 3:15 p.m., Phillips was discovered hiding underneath a ledge in the ravine, while submerged in water. Law enforcement subsequently determined that the recovered firearm had been reported stolen to the Anne Arundel County, Md., Police Department

            At the time of his arrest, Phillips was on supervised release following an earlier guilty plea to a firearms offense in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He now could face formal revocation of his supervised release in that case.

            In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Liu, Special Agent in Charge Chittum, and Chief Newsham commended the work of those who investigated the case from ATF and MPD. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Macchiaroli, and Paralegal Specialists Candace Battle and Teesha Tobias.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
18-63
Updated March 13, 2018