PITTSBURGH, PA – A resident of Pittsburgh pleaded guilty in federal court on charges related to federal firearms laws, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
Clayton Sowell, 27, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, before United States District Judge Jagan N. Ranjan.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that in the early evening of December 19, 2019, Pittsburgh Police conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by Clayton Sowell. During the traffic stop, officers recovered a loaded handgun containing 17 rounds of ammunition in the driver’s side door.
The court was further advised that in the late morning of April 28, 2020, an officer of the Penn Hills Police Department conducted a separate traffic stop of a vehicle driven by Mr. Sowell. During the traffic stop, law enforcement recovered a loaded handgun containing 18 rounds of ammunition in Mr. Sowell’s front waistband.
Finally, the Court was advised that Mr. Sowell has two prior felony convictions. On May 21, 2012, Mr. Sowell pled guilty to Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Officer in the Court of Common Pleas, County of Allegheny, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. On June 20, 2016, Mr. Sowell pled guilty to Firearms Not to be Carried Without a License in the Court of Common Pleas, County of Allegheny, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Judge Ranjan scheduled sentencing for March 4, 2021, at 10:00 am. The law provides for a total sentence of not more than ten years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. Mr. Sowell remains detained pending sentencing.
Assistant United States Attorney Brendan J. McKenna is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and Penn Hills Police Department conducted the investigation in this case.