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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

Friday, June 6, 2014

Felon Facing 8 Year Prison Term Gets Additional 27 Month Sentence for Possessing ‘Shanks’ at Federal Prison

Weapons Found Following Apparent Contraband Incident With Visitor

            A repeat felon was sentenced to an additional 27 months on top of an eight year sentence for possession of dangerous weapons at the Federal Detention Center, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  JOHN CHRISTIAN PARKS, 38, of Belfair, Washington was sentenced in January 2014 to eight years in prison for being a felon in possession of firearms.  PARKS was found guilty of that charge following a jury trial in October 2013.  On April 10, 2014, PARKS pleaded guilty to providing or possessing contraband in prison.  Chief Judge Marsha J. Pechman ordered the 27 month sentence to run consecutive to the eight year sentence saying that the crime is “very, very significant because it presents such a danger to everyone at the Federal Detention Center – guards and inmates.”

            According to filings in the case, guards at the prison observed what appeared to be the passing of contraband between PARKS and a visitor.  PARKS appeared to be in a drugged state following the visit, so he was put in a special cell and his cell was searched.  At the bottom of a box of PARKS’ papers were two sharpened black metallic objects that appeared to be homemade weapons.  Both weapons are between four and five inches in length, with one wrapped in a fabric in such a way as to provide a handle.  Both weapons resemble what is commonly referred to as a “shank.”

            PARKS has eight prior felony convictions. He was most recently arrested on March 30, 2013 while target shooting in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.  U.S. Forest Service officers heard multiple shots and were directed to the group by a witness who said he had encountered the armed men.  Law enforcement recovered eight firearms, including four assault rifles.  Evidence introduced at trial revealed PARKS had illegally purchased and possessed two of the assault rifles.

            This most recent case involving weapons in the federal facility was investigated by the Bureau of Prisons.  The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Hobbs.  Mr. Hobbs is a Senior Deputy King County Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute firearms cases in federal court.

Updated March 20, 2015