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RICHMOND, Va. – A Petersburg man pleaded guilty today to possession of firearms as a convicted felon.

According to court documents, Markes Jackson, 31, was arrested after he was observed by law enforcement driving erratically on the roadway in Colonial Heights in December 2019. A sergeant observed the vehicle that Jackson was driving straddling the centerline, and as Jackson continued to drive, the sergeant observed Jackson cross over the centerline three times.

After Jackson was stopped, officers approached the vehicle and smelled alcohol and marijuana. An officer observed the barrel of a rifle sticking out from underneath a blanket on the back floorboard. Jackson was found to be in possession of a pill bottle with no label, which had 32 Alprazolam pills wrapped inside a plastic baggie. A 9mm round of ammunition was also recovered from Jackson’s pocket. A search of the vehicle resulted in the recovery of a Taurus 9mm firearm from underneath the driver’s seat. This weapon had 8 rounds in the magazine and a round in the chamber.

In addition, Jackson acknowledged in the statement of facts filed with the Court that he also possessed the Bushmaster rifle that was on the back floorboard. This firearm was a high capacity weapon equipped with a 45-round magazine, with 25 rounds of ammunition in the magazine and one round in the chamber. The Taurus 9mm firearm had been acquired by Jackson in November 2019. More than one-half ounce of marijuana and Eutylone, a Schedule I controlled substance, were also recovered from the Toyota.

In pleading guilty, Jackson faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on February 12, 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; Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division; and Colonel Jeffrey W. Faries, Chief of Colonial Heights Police, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson accepted the plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Mastandrea-Miller 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. 3:20-cr-87.

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