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Former police officer from Mount Airy fled to Indiana after sentencing on gun charge, pleads guilty to failing to surrender

A former police officer in Frederick County pleaded guilty Monday to failing to surrender after being sentenced to 30 months in prison for possession of an unregulated fully automatic firearm, according to U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

James Ian Piccirilli of Mount Airy, 40, also admitted to illegally possessing additional firearms while on the run, a news release said.

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According to his guilty plea, on Jan. 14, 2020, U.S. Circuit Judge Stephanie Thacker sentenced Piccirilli to 30 months’ imprisonment for possessing an unregistered fully automatic firearm in violation of the National Firearms Act.

On Oct. 5, 2018, Piccirilli took an MKE 5.56mm caliber firearm, which had been altered to convert it into a fully automatic short-barreled rifle, bringing the firearm under the regulation of the NFA, to the home of another individual, who was a licensed gun dealer in Maryland, according to his November 2019 guilty plea.

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Piccirilli, formerly a police officer in Brunswick, Maryland, legally owned non-NFA firearms and had the expertise to convert non-NFA firearms into NFA firearms.

He admitted that the firearm belonged to him, but it was not registered to him, in violation of the NFA, according to information presented to the court. Piccirilli tried to launder the unregistered firearm by attempting to have the gun dealer register the illegal firearm and/or sell it, so that the sale of the gun would appear to be legal, the release said.

In December 2018, Piccirilli attempted to sell the firearm to an ATF undercover agent without ATF’s prior approval and in text messages and recorded calls tried to conceal the nature of the transaction, according to the news release. As Piccirilli left his house to complete the transaction, he was apprehended by ATF agents.

Investigators executed search warrants on his house and two vehicles, seizing 10 unregistered fully automatic firearms, one unregistered short-barreled rifle, and seven unregistered silencers. according to the news release.

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The District Court ordered Piccirilli to surrender by 2 p.m. on March 16, 2020, to begin serving his sentence. The court communicated the order to Piccirilli orally during the sentencing hearing and in writing in his judgment. Piccirilli’s girlfriend, Kellie Nicole Warfield, 30, of Mount Airy, was present at the January sentencing hearing.

As stated in his September 2021 plea agreement, on Jan. 24, 2020, Piccirilli’s probation officer received an alert that Piccirilli had disabled his ankle monitor and had failed to return home by his curfew. Soon after, law enforcement discovered that Piccirilli and Warfield disposed of their cellphones and sold their vehicle, the release stated.

As a part of their investigation, ATF investigators and U.S. Marshals interviewed family members, friends and associates of the couple. As a result of gathered intelligence, investigators discovered that the couple relocated to the southern Indiana town of Ramsey.

Further investigation revealed Warfield received Kansas temporary tags for a truck that she and Piccirilli purchased while evading law enforcement, the release says. Subsequently, in September 2020, Warfield used her real personal information to apply for an Indiana driver’s license and registration for the truck.

As stated in his plea agreement, on Oct. 13, 2020, investigators arrested Piccirilli and Warfield at a New Salisbury, Indiana restaurant where Warfield worked. At the time, the couple was living in a camper attached to a truck.

As a result of search warrants executed on the truck and camper, law enforcement recovered a 9 mm caliber pistol bearing no serial number, loaded with a full magazine of ammunition, two fully loaded magazines, a A-15 .223/5.56mm caliber rifle, and additional rounds of ammunition, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The rifle had a selector switch, converting it into a fully automatic rifle and bringing the firearm under the regulation of the NFA.

In addition, a witness informed investigators that Piccirilli identified himself under the alias of “Jack Davis” and, at one point, asked her to hold a 9 mm caliber pistol and silencer. according to the release. The witness possessed a bag containing the firearm and silencer belonging to Piccirilli. The silencer lacked a serial number, as required by the NFA. Piccirilli had no NFA firearms registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

Piccirilli agrees that he was on release for another criminal charge and that he was required by court order to surrender for service of sentence by March 16, 2020, according to the release. Despite being aware of that requirement, he knowingly and willfully failed to surrender. In addition, he agrees that he knowingly possessed NFA firearms that were not registered to him in the national registry.

Piccirilli and the government have agreed that, if the court accepts the plea agreement, Piccirilli will be sentenced to between 30 to 46 months in federal prison, according to U.S. Attorney’s Office.

U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled sentencing for Nov. 19 at 10 a.m.

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