By CBS Baltimore Staff

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A former Maryland police officer pleaded guilty Monday to fleeing the state rather than face sentencing on a federal firearms charge.

James Piccirilli, 40, of Mt. Airy, entered a guilty plea on a charge of failing to surrender for service of sentence and acknowledged he illegally had guns while he was on the run, according to the Department of Justice. Piccirilli faces between 30 to 46 months in federal prison at sentencing.

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Piccirilli was sentenced in January 2020 to 30 months in prison for possession of an unregistered fully automatic firearm. He pleaded guilty in that case after he was arrested while trying to sell an illegally modified gun he owned to an undercover agent. A subsequent search of his home found 10 more unregistered automatic weapons and seven unregistered silencers.

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The former Brunswick, Maryland officer agreed to surrender to law enforcement to begin his sentence in March 2020. But six weeks before he was supposed to turn himself in, authorities learned he had disabled his ankle monitor, gotten rid of his cell phone and taken off with his girlfriend.

Investigators later tracked down the couple in New Salisbury, Indiana, near the Kentucky border, where they were found living in a camper attached to a truck. Authorities recovered several firearms, including a modified rifle that was capable of fully automatic fire.

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A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 19.

CBS Baltimore Staff