DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Jersey

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Philip R. Sellinger
, United States Attorney

Essex County Man Admits Illegal Possession of Multiple Firearms and Ammunition

NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man today admitted illegally possessing multiple firearms and a significant quantity of ammunition, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Walter Lee Nichols, 51, of East Orange, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty to an information charging him with one count of possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Nov. 17, 2020, Nichols possessed a firearm and 32 rounds of ammunition in a hidden compartment in his vehicle. In a storage unit rented in his name, Nichols possessed four firearms – including at least one semiautomatic firearm that was capable of accepting a large capacity magazine – and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Nichols has previously been convicted of at least one felony offense, including a controlled substance offense.

The firearms offense to which Nichols pleaded guilty carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 29, 2022.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents and task force officers of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Raymond Donovan, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Newark Field Division, for its assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. Pesce of the OCDETF/Narcotics Unit in Newark.

Newark Field Division