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A Mason County resident with multiple prior felony convictions was sentenced today in the U.S. District Court in Seattle to eight years in prison and three years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. JOHN CHRISTIAN PARKS, 38, of Belfair, Washington was 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. PARKS was convicted October 31, 2013. At sentencing, U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly said this case “illustrates how easy it is for anyone to buy firearms online or on the street.”
According to records and testimony at trial, PARKS used a false identity to purchase one of the assault rifles over the internet from a seller in Virginia. Two more high powered guns were purchased locally with witnesses identifying PARKS as the purchaser. PARKS is prohibited from possessing firearms as a result of eight prior felony convictions, including convictions for: drug possession in Grant County in 2001, Jefferson County in 2001, and King County in 2001 and 2004; drug manufacturing and distribution in Clallam County in 1998 and Pierce County in 2005; and escape in King County in 2004.
In asking for the maximum ten year sentence, prosecutors wrote “The combination of his drug dealing convictions (whether or not accompanied by drug use), his clear and deliberate attempts to conceal his identity as the purchaser of the charged weapons, and the nature of the firearms themselves (assault rifles capable of accepting extended magazines) demonstrate that Parks has no intention of complying with the law and will likely continue to obtain firearms upon release from incarceration.”
The case was investigated by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).
The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen Hobbs and Seth Wilkinson. Mr. Hobbs is a Senior Deputy King County Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute firearms cases in federal court.