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Guilty plea deal reached in 2007 firearms case

More than five years after Sunnyside police officers arrested him, Charles Thomas Wilmer Weems pled guilty last week in federal district court in Yakima.

According to a plea agreement with the U.S. District Court, Weems pled guilty to charges of possessing an unregistered firearm, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and felon in possession of a firearm.

The deal stems from a March 1, 2007 incident when two Sunnyside police officers attempted to pull Weems over on I-82 for suspicion of driving under the influence.

Sunnyside officers then followed Weems into town, where they attempted to pull him over, according to court documents. After recovering his keys and unlocking his vehicle, Sunnyside police reported finding marijuana, cocaine and a sub-machine gun in Weems' vehicle.

Police also alleged they found that Weems was carrying two knives.

Weems, who according to court documents was convicted of first-degree robbery in 1998, faced adding charges because of his felony background.

The case took five years to come to conclusion, in part, because of a successful legal appeal in district court by Weems. The appeal was based on his contention that Sunnyside officers conducted an unconstitutional search of the vehicle.

The appeal was overturned in federal court last year.

According to the plea deal struck last week, Weems and prosecutors are recommending a total sentence of 198 months, or 16-and-a-half years.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 9, 2013

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