Police Say Ex-Terrapin Baxter Illegally Mailed Guns

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Lonny Baxter, a former University of Maryland basketball star who last year was sentenced to two months in jail for firing a weapon near the White House, was charged yesterday with another firearms offense.

Baxter, 28, of Rockville, used FedEx to illegally mail three pistols and a Bushmaster rifle last July, according to a criminal information document filed in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.

The package was addressed to a College Park location, but the document does not say who it was addressed to and provides no further information about the shipment.

Baxter faces one count of delivering undeclared firearms for interstate transportation, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The package contained two .40-caliber Glocks, a .45-caliber Para Ordnance pistol and a .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle, according to prosecutors.

Baxter's attorney, Richard Finci, said Baxter intends to enter a guilty plea in the case on July 19. He would not discuss the terms of the plea deal, but said the new charge stemmed from the investigation conducted after the shooting near the White House.

Baxter was hired last year by the Montepaschi Siena basketball club, based in Siena, Italy, and expected to head to Italy after being released in the D.C. case. The team won the Italian league championship this year.

He was arrested last August after firing a weapon near the White House hours before he was scheduled to travel to Italy. After the shot was fired, Secret Service officers pulled over Baxter's white Range Rover, where they found a Glock and two spent shells.

The Glock found in Baxter's vehicle was one of the Glocks listed in the court document filed in Greenbelt yesterday, the attorney said. Finci said he hopes the guilty plea will cap his client's legal problems. He said he's optimistic Baxter won't have to serve any additional time.

Finci said Baxter is currently in the United States performing community service in accordance with the sentence imposed by the D.C. Superior Court judge who handled last year's case.

"The worst is over," the attorney said. "We certainly hope that there will be no impact on his career."

Baxter pleaded guilty in 2004 to another firearms offense after a bullet shattered a neighbor's window. He told police at the time that he had accidentally fired the weapon.

-- Ernesto LondoƱo

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