Maine felon with ‘arsenal in his car’ gets 31 months on gun charge

Posted Feb. 05, 2013, at 8:28 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — An Industry man that a federal prosecutor said “had an arsenal in his car” was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to 31 months in prison on a gun charge.

Paul J. Brackett, 40, waived indictment and pleaded guilty in September to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Brackett was arrested on Feb. 7, 2012, after his car went off the road in Eustis, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. A Maine warden found the car in a snowbank on the side of the road and an intoxicated Brackett nearby outside the vehicle.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Lowell said in his sentencing memorandum that Brackett’s blood alcohol level was .26 percent, more than three times the legal limit of .08 percent.

“As the Intoxilyzer test confirmed, the defendant was severely intoxicated,” Lowell wrote. “He was carrying a loaded weapon and had an arsenal in his car.”

Brackett was carrying a loaded Glock .45-caliber pistol and had an AR-15 in the back seat, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a press release issued Tuesday. The AR-15 contained a loaded 30-round magazine and was next to a vest that carried extra ammunition and magazines. A .22-caliber rifle and several rounds of .22-caliber ammunition were found in the trunk of the car.

The Industry man was prohibited from possessing guns and/or ammunition because of a 1991 burglary conviction and a 2001 conviction in Franklin County for operating after revocation of a driver’s license.

Brackett faced a sentence of between 33 and 41 months in prison because he had the AR-15, a semiautomatic rifle with a high-capacity magazine, when he was arrested.

Under the federal sentencing guidelines, Brackett would have faced half as much prison time if he had not had that weapon and magazine. While it is legal for non-felons to possess those kinds of guns, felons who have them face enhanced penalties, according to court documents.

Brackett’s attorney, federal public defender Virginia Villa, argued in her sentencing memorandum that he should have been sentenced to between 15 and 21 months because it is not illegal to possess semiautomatic weapons and high capacity magazines.

Lowell recommended the sentence imposed.

In addition to prison time, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock sentenced Brackett to three years of supervised release. The judge ordered Brackett to begin serving his sentence on April 5.

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