Glen Burnie Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Possession of Guns and Improvised Explosive Devices
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 15, 2014|
BALTIMORE—Todd Wheeler, age 28, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to being a prohibited person, specifically an unlawful user and a person addicted to drugs, in possession of firearms, including improvised explosive devices.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge William P. McMullan of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives-Baltimore Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Anne Arundel County Police Chief Kevin Davis; and Fire Chief Michael E. Cox, Jr. of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.
According to Wheeler’s plea agreement, on January 1, 2014, Wheeler was treated at the hospital for injuries the he told hospital officials he sustained from an explosion when he was attempting to make fireworks. Wheeler attempted to flee the emergency room but was apprehended by police who were called to the scene. Police were directed to the home of Wheeler’s grandmother in Millersville, Maryland. She confirmed that Wheeler often stayed there and gave police permission to search the home and an outbuilding located on her property. Officers recovered chemicals used to manufacture high explosives, as well as other explosive materials. Investigators learned that Wheeler received packages at that address and stored the materials in the outbuilding.
The next day, ATF agents interviewed Wheeler, who remained in custody at the hospital. Wheeler advised agents that he was injured when he mixed chemicals and they exploded. He also told the agents that he had previously made explosive devices and detonated them in his yard. A search warrant was executed at Wheeler’s residence in Glen Burnie by Anne Arundel County Police. Over the next two days, law enforcement recovered, among other things: several improvised explosive devices, as well as the chemicals and explosive materials used to make them; drugs and drug paraphernalia; a Walther pistol, flare gun, and signal flare launcher, along with a conversion kit to allow the launcher to shoot 12-gauge shotgun shells; and 12-gauge shotgun shells.
Further investigation revealed that Wheeler had history of drug addiction dating back to at least 2006. At the time of this incident, Wheeler was on probation for driving under the influence of a controlled substance and in a drug test conducted by his state probation officer shortly before the incident Wheeler tested positive for seven different controlled substances.
Wheeler faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles has scheduled sentencing for September 8, 2014, at 1:00 p.m. Wheeler remains detained.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the ATF, FBI, Anne Arundel County Police Department, and Anne Arundel County Fire Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys A. David Copperthite and Harvey E. Eisenberg, who are prosecuting the case.