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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Alabama

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Montgomery Man Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Illegal Possession of a Firearm

            Montgomery, Alabama – On Tuesday, October 6, 2020, John Frederick Wheeler, a 29-year-old man from Montgomery, Alabama, was sentenced to 60 months in prison for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, announced United States Attorney Louis V. Franklin, Sr. There is no parole in the federal system.

            According to court records and statements made in open court, in June of 2016, the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) suspected that Wheeler was using the mail to receive illegal narcotics to sell. After obtaining a search warrant, the USPIS found marijuana and firearms at Wheeler’s residence. Under federal law, it is a crime to use, carry, or possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. A violation of that statute carries a minimum sentence of five years. Wheeler pleaded guilty to the charge on July 8, 2020. During his plea hearing, Wheeler admitted that he possessed the firearm in order to further his marijuana distribution operation.

            The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Montgomery Police Department investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorney Brandon Bates prosecuted the case.

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Updated October 9, 2020