A former police officer in Frederick County fled a 30-month firearms-related federal prison sentence and was on the lam for about nine months before being arrested by federal agents in Indiana on Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland announced Friday.
James Piccirilli, 39, a Mount Airy resident and a former Brunswick Police Department officer, had been sentenced in January for the prison time and three years of supervised release for possessing an unregistered fully automatic firearm, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.
Piccirilli was supposed to report to prison by March 16, but disabled his monitoring device and took off from Maryland on Jan. 24 with his girlfriend, fellow Mount Airy resident Kellie Warfield, 29, the release said. The couple was residing in Ramsey, Indiana, and working in the Harrison County area, the release said.
Federal agents arrested both him and Warfield in New Salisbury, Indiana, on Tuesday. Agents from the Baltimore and Louisville divisions of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were among those arresting the couple, along with Indiana U.S. Deputy Marshals and the Southeast Indiana Regional SWAT team, according to the release.
Piccirilli was charged with failing to surrender for service of sentence and Warfield was charged with aiding and abetting, according to the release. Piccirilli faces up to five years in federal prison for the new charge, and Warfield also faces five years, if convicted, according to Marcy Murphy, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland.
Neither Piccirilli nor Warfield has an attorney as of Friday, Murphy said.
Both had appeared in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on Wednesday, and they were ordered to be detained and sent to Maryland, according to the release. It is up to U.S. Marshals when they arrive in Maryland, where they will be held in federal custody, she said.
Piccirilli pleaded guilty after altering an MKE 5.56mm caliber firearm Oct. 5, 2018, and turning it into a “a fully automatic short-barreled rifle,” the release said. That brought into play the National Firearms Act, which bans having such weapons without registering them, according to the release.
He brought the weapon to a firearms dealer, attempting 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,” according to the release. In December 2018, he attempted to sell the illegally altered firearm to an undercover agent without approval and “tried to conceal the nature of the transaction,” the release said.
He was arrested Dec. 14, 2018, and after a search, investigators found 10 unregistered fully automatic firearms, an unregistered “short-barreled rifle,” as well as seven unregistered silencers, the release said.