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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Columbia
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, March 6, 2024

District Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Firearms and Drug Trafficking Offenses

WASHINGTON – Christopher Norece Mitchell, 25, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty today to federal firearms and drug trafficking offenses stemming from his possession of three loaded firearms and distributable quantities of narcotics on April 20, 2023, in the Chinatown neighborhood of Northwest Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves; Special Agent in Charge Craig Kailimai of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and Chief Pamela A. Smith of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

Mitchell pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition by a person convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year and one count of possession with intent to distribute N,N-Dimethylpentylone, a Schedule I controlled substance. The Honorable Jia M. Cobb scheduled sentencing for July 92024.

According to plea documents, in the early afternoon hours of April 20, 2023, members of the Metropolitan Police Department approached a group of men who were loitering on private property in the District’s Chinatown neighborhood. As the men left the area, one took a black plastic bag off a fence post and threw it into a public trash can. The officers recovered the bag, which contained a distributable quantity of marijuana, a digital scale, empty plastic bags consistent drug distribution, and a key for a nearby SUV. Minutes later, Mitchell arrived on scene and claimed the SUV belonged to his mother. Mitchell consented to a search of his person, which yielded almost $4,000 in U.S. currency and distributable quantities of drugs that were later determined to include fentanyl and the synthetic stimulant N,N-Dimethylpentylone. Officers also searched the SUV and recovered additional N,N-Dimethylpentylone among other drugs, along with additional scales. Officers also recovered three loaded Glock firearms and additional ammunition. Subsequent DNA testing and analysis tied Mitchell to the firearms.

On May 18, 2023, a federal grand jury indicted Mitchell on firearms and drug trafficking offenses. Mitchell was arrested on May 19, 2023, and has remained in custody since.

Federal law prohibits Mitchell from possessing a firearm because he previously was convicted in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for crimes punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

Mitchell faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the firearms count and a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and up to a $2,000,000 fine on the drug trafficking count. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentence imposed in this case will be determined by the Court after considering the United States Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Metropolitan Police Department as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods. Valuable assistance was provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration Mid-Atlantic Laboratory and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia.

The case was indicted by former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Kelley and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul V. Courtney.

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