Felon Pleads to Unlawful Possession of a Short-Barreled Rifle That Was Discovered in His Car Along with PCP and Cocaine Base
WASHINGTON – John Michael Wilcox, 36, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 37 months in prison for illegally possessing a Ruger Archangel rifle and a .32 caliber pistol when his SUV was stopped by police near Nationals Park, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Chief Jessica M.E. Taylor of the United States Park Police.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney L. Friedrich ordered Wilcox to serve three years of supervised release.
Wilcox pleaded guilty September 26, 2023, 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.
According to the government’s evidence, when Wilcox was stopped by U.S. Park Police officers on July 12, 2022, he was operating a black SUV with an illegally covered Florida dealer tag. As officers approached the vehicle, he held a military identification card out of the driver’s side window that did not belong to him. While interacting with Wilcox, an officer observed a clear plastic bag containing multiple-colored zip lock bags partially bulging from the defendant’s front shorts pocket. The officer directed Wilcox out of the vehicle and toward the rear of the car. Wilcox was forcibly placed in handcuffs following his initial refusal to comply.
Officers recovered 19 small plastic bags which each contained fentanyl. Officers also recovered a clear plastic bag containing cocaine base. Officers then removed a female passenger and child from the vehicle. Police searched the SUV and discovered a .32 caliber pistol in the glove compartment with three rounds. They found a Ruger Archangel, 5.56 caliber rifle with the serial number obliterated, located in the trunk.
During the search, Wilcox stated multiple times that everything in the car belonged to him. 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.
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.
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 was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard Kelley and Alexander Schneider and Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul V. Courtney.