Previously Convicted Felon Pleads Guilty to Possessing Firearm | USAO-EDVA

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Maryland man pleaded guilty today to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to court documents, Bilal Abdus-Salaam, 38, of Capitol Heights, a multi-time convicted felon, including for previous firearms offenses, was released from prison in June 2020. Less than a month later, on July 16, he entered two Federal Firearms Licensees in the Eastern District of Virginia. Abdus-Salaam was accompanied by his wife at both locations, and video surveillance showed Abdus-Salaam handling multiple firearms, to include a rifle and a pistol, that his wife went on to purchase.

On August 21, a search warrant was executed on his wife’s residence in Maryland, where Abdus-Salaam received mail and was observed on multiple occasions in late July and early August 2020. During the search, law enforcement recovered the two firearms purchased in Virginia in July 2020, along with an additional rifle, a rifle upper receiver, firearm magazines, ammunition, and various other items associated with firearms.

Abdus-Salaam faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when sentenced on Feb. 23, 2021. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. Click here for more information about Project Guardian.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema accepted the plea.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Roberts is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:20-cr-244.

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