ST. LEONARD, Md. — Michael Ian Harts, 31, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, suspended to 3 years of active time, for illegally possessing a short-barreled rifle and intent to distribute a controlled substance. The sentencing was conducted by Calvert County Circuit Court Judge Mark W. Carmean on August 28, 2023.

During a routine traffic stop, Calvert County Sheriff’s deputies arrested harts in February 2023. Following the arrest, a court-authorized search warrant was executed at his residence, where the illegal firearm was discovered.

As part of his sentence, Harts must undergo 5 years of supervised probation following his release from prison. He will also be prohibited from possessing any firearm due to the nature of his conviction. Should Harts violate any terms of his probation, he may have the unserved portion of his jail sentence reimposed.

Special prosecutor John Stackhouse of the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office handled the case.

The sentencing follows a series of legal proceedings culminating in Harts’ conviction. The arrest made in February was critical in initiating the legal actions that led to the search warrant and subsequent discovery of the illegal weapon. Although initially pulled over for a traffic violation, the situation escalated, warranting a deeper investigation into Harts’s activities.

The case has drawn attention to ongoing law enforcement efforts to curb illegal firearm possession and drug distribution within Calvert County. Authorities have been tightening measures to counter these illegal activities, and the sentence imposed on Harts serves as a cautionary example for those involved in similar crimes.

The 5-year probation term set for Harts post-release is geared toward ensuring ongoing oversight of his activities. During this period, he will be closely monitored for compliance with the conditions set by the court. This includes not only a prohibition from firearm possession but also periodic checks to deter any drug-related activities.

Harts’ case marks a significant conviction in Calvert County’s efforts to stop illegal activities. As a part of broader crime prevention strategies, law enforcement agencies hope this case will serve as a deterrent to potential offenders.

Legal experts have noted that while the 10-year sentence has been suspended to 3 years of active time, the terms set forth for probation are stringent, reflecting the severity of the offenses committed. This case exemplifies how the legal system utilizes various punitive and preventative measures to handle cases involving illegal firearms and controlled substances.

The conviction and sentencing of Michael Ian Harts underscores the ongoing commitment of local law enforcement to maintain safety and order within the community. With illicit activities posing a constant challenge, such cases remind the public of the robust legal procedures in place to deal with offenders.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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