UPDATE September 27, 2022: James Hutchings Jr., 41, of Waldorf, Maryland, was sentenced today to five years in prison on firearms trafficking conspiracy charge, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division. and Charlie J. Patterson, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
Hutchings was found guilty by a jury in May 2022, following a trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell. He will be placed on three years of supervised release after his prison term.
The conspiracy underpinning the verdict and sentence began in 2018, when Hutchings helped facilitate the transfer of multiple firearms into the hands of a convicted felon and narcotics trafficker, Linwood Douglas Thorne, 50, of Washington, D.C. Hutchings worked with his firearms supplier, a straw purchaser named Kofi Appiah, 33, of Temple Hills, Maryland, to help purchase the firearms in the state of Georgia and transport them into the District of Columbia.
At trial, the government presented a myriad of digital evidence, showcasing the defendant’s involvement in the conspiracy, including his purchase orders of firearms, his online payment process, and his extensive connections with Thorne’s enterprise. The jury quickly returned a guilty verdict based on the evidence.
Appiah was previously sentenced to 37 months imprisonment due to his role in this conspiracy, and Thorne awaits sentencing after a jury convicted him of his narcotics trafficking enterprise. Thorne faces up to life in prison.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Graves, Special Agent in Charge Jacobs, and Special Agent in Charge Patterson commended the work of those who investigated the case, including those from the ATF and FBI. They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the U.S. Marshals Service, Prince George’s County, Md. Police Department, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland. Additionally, they commended the work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia, which assisted in the arrest of Appiah in 2019.
Finally, they expressed appreciation for the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Rosen, who indicted and prosecuted the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel Frey, who tried the case alongside Paralegal Specialist Alexis Spencer-Anderson. They also acknowledged the work of former Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brandon Regan and Andrea Duvall, who assisted in the case.
WASHINGTON – James Hutchings Jr, 41, of Waldorf, Maryland(May 2022), has been found guilty by a jury in the District of Columbia of a federal conspiracy charge for his role as the middleman in an illegal transfer of weapons involving people prohibited from possessing firearms.
U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves announced the verdict, Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division, and Charlie J. Patterson, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
Hutchings was found guilty yesterday following a trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia of conspiracy to defraud the United States. The Honorable Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell scheduled sentencing for Aug. 9, 2022.
In 2018, the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force began investigating an individual named Linwood Douglas Thorne as a major heroin supplier. On Dec. 19, 2018, the FBI and ATF executed simultaneous search warrants on Thorne’s Maryland business and residence in the District of Columbia, finding 44 kilograms of heroin laced with fentanyl; 55 pounds of marijuana; five firearms; and significant drug paraphernalia.
In addition to the search warrants, the task force’s investigation—which began in July of 2018—led to the recovery of eight additional firearms, approximately 1.5 additional kilograms of marijuana, 260 additional grams of heroin, and several firearms magazines and accessories.
The ATF conducted a parallel investigation into three firearms found at Thorne’s residence and discovered that a Second Lieutenant purchased the firearms in the U.S. Army named Kofi Appiah. After additional investigation, including discovering multiple digital devices, law enforcement identified Hutchings as the middleman. He facilitated the transfer of firearms from Georgia to the District of Columbia. Both Hutchings and Thorne were prohibited persons based on their prior convictions and, thus, were ineligible to possess firearms.
During the trial, the government presented multiple law enforcement witnesses and digital and business records establishing and corroborating the defendant’s guilt. With this conviction, the defendant faces up to five years of imprisonment. He is currently on supervised probation out of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Appiah pleaded guilty in September 2020 and was sentenced to 37 months in prison. Thorne, 50, was found guilty in March 2022 of multiple counts and is awaiting sentencing.
In announcing the verdict, U.S. Attorney Graves, Special Agent in Charge Jacobs, and Special Agent in Charge Patterson commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI and ATF, as well as those from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). The latter were on the Safe Streets Task Force. They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by joint law enforcement and prosecution partners, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who prosecuted the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brandon Regan, Samuel Frey, and Gregory Rosen, as well as Paralegal Specialist Alexis Spencer-Anderson of the Federal Major Crimes Section.