Mexican Man Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Return to the United States After Removal and Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person
Jackson, Miss. – Wilmer Ham a/k/a Jose Lopez, 33, pled guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves to two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Michelle A. Sutphin, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Mississippi.
On September 14, 2018, a Jackson Police officer responded to a call at Tony’s Food Mart on Highway 80 in Jackson. Upon arrival, the officer noticed the store clerk frantically waving his hands in an attempt to get the officer’s attention from inside the store. Upon entering, the officer noticed the store was in disarray and a male, later identified as Wilmer Ham, was standing beside the fountain drinks. The officer attempted to speak with Ham, but his behavior led the officer to call for backup. Before assistance could arrive, Ham rushed the officer in an attempt to exit. As the officer tried to stop Ham, they struggled and a firearm fell from Ham’s pocket. The firearm was later determined to be a Ruger, model LCP, .380 caliber pistol. After no assistance arrived, the officer disengaged Ham and Ham left the scene.
Later that day, Jackson Police officers again responded to Tony’s Food Mart. Upon arrival, officers observed the front door partially open with a male, later determined to be Wilmer Ham, in the doorway holding the door open with his foot. Both the officer who responded to the earlier call and the store clerk confirmed that Ham was the same individual from that morning. Surveillance video captured Ham inside the store with a handgun and then tossing the handgun outside the door. The gun was determined to be a Taurus, model PT738 TCP, .380 caliber pistol. An investigation revealed that Ham had two previous convictions in Bronx County Criminal Court for possession of a loaded firearm and for criminal sale of a controlled substance.
In August, 2019, Ham was charged in a federal criminal indictment with two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Ham will be sentenced by Judge Reeves on February 4, 2020, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $5,000,000 fine.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Jackson Police Department investigated this case. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Keesha Middleton.
This case is part of Project EJECT, an initiative by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi under the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). EJECT is a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to fighting and reducing violent crime through prosecution, prevention, re-entry and awareness. EJECT stands for "Empower Justice Expel Crime Together." PSN is bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.