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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Maryland
Erek L. Barron, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, March 31, 2023

Previously Convicted Charles County Felon Pleads Guilty to Federal Firearms and Drug Charges

Sold Eight Guns, Including Four “Ghost Guns” to Law Enforcement Source

Greenbelt, Maryland – Sean Donnelle Hawkins, age 48, of Marbury, Maryland, pleaded guilty yesterday federal charges related to his distribution of cocaine, crack cocaine, and firearms in Charles County, Maryland. During the investigation, Hawkins sold eight firearms to a law enforcement source, including four privately made semi-automatic firearms, known as “ghost guns.”

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Toni M. Crosby of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) Baltimore Field Division; and Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry.

As detailed in his guilty plea, Hawkins admitted that on 10 separate occasions from October 2021 to May 2022, he sold cocaine, crack cocaine and/or firearms to law enforcement sources. Between February 18, 2022 and May 24, 2022, Hawkins sold a law enforcement source eight firearms, including four privately made firearms, often referred to as “ghost guns.” One of the privately made firearms was a semi-automatic pistol and came with a high-capacity magazine capable of receiving 33 rounds of 9mm ammunition and was loaded with 31 rounds of ammunition.

In total, Hawkins sold the law enforcement sources 85.493 grams of crack cocaine, 111.528 grams of cocaine, eight firearms and 468 rounds of ammunition. Hawkins knew that he had a previous felony conviction and was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition. Hawkins also had reason to believe that the law enforcement source could not lawfully possess firearms and intended to use or dispose of the firearms unlawfully.

On August 3, 2022, a search warrant was executed at Hawkins’ residence. Hawkins was inside the residence and informed law enforcement that he had drugs and firearms inside a cooler in the home. The cooler was located and contained: a .38 special caliber revolver, loaded with five rounds of .38 caliber ammunition; a 9mm semi-automatic pistol; two empty firearm magazines; three bags containing a total of 411.84 grams of marijuana; one knot-sealed bag containing 5.52 grams of a mixture of powder and crack cocaine; one baggie holding 20 round green tablets of a mixture of cocaine and oxycodone; one container of white tablets of a mixture of cocaine and oxycodone; and one green tablet of oxycodone. Law enforcement also recovered two shotguns from the residence and more than 1,000 rounds of assorted caliber ammunition, as well as $1,264 in cash that Hawkins intended to use to commit or facilitate the distribution of controlled substances. Hawkins admitted to possessing the firearms, ammunition, and magazines recovered in the cooler in furtherance of his drug trafficking.

Hawkins and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Hawkins will be sentenced to between 10 and 13 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow has scheduled sentencing for August 1, 2023. As part of his plea agreement, Hawkins will forfeit the firearms recovered from his home on August 3, 2022, and waives any right or interest in the ammunition and magazines seized during the searches related to the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (“PSN”), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the ATF and the Charles County Sheriff’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bijon A. Mostoufi and Timothy F. Hagan, who are prosecuting the case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit and

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