Convicted Felon Sentenced to Serve Twelve Years in Federal Prison for Drug Dealing and Firearm Possession

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A syringe with ampoules, white powder, a five-dollar bill with bullets and a gun lying on a black glass background. Dangerous bad habits, addiction to drugs and gambling. Crime because of drugs.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Yesterday, JAMES MCWILLIE AMBROSE, 39, of Oklahoma City, was sentenced to serve twelve years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing controlled dangerous substances with intent to distribute, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester.

On July 8, 2020, a six-count Superseding Indictment was filed charging Ambrose with two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of possessing controlled substances with intent to distribute, and two counts of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  On November 3, 2020, pursuant to a plea agreement, Ambrose pled guilty to two counts of possessing controlled dangerous substances with intent to distribute and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

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Public records reflect that Ambrose was stopped for a traffic offense on December 1, 2019.  Officers performed a search of the car after observing a mason jar filled with a green substance consistent with marijuana on the passenger-side floorboard.  Officers found quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine, multiple pills of methamphetamine, and a loaded .38 caliber firearm concealed behind door panels of the car.  On May 20, 2020, officers arrested Ambrose on a federal warrant as he was leaving his home, and found 13.6 grams of crack cocaine and $370 in the pockets of his shorts.  Law enforcement searched Ambrose’s home and seized crack cocaine, powder cocaine, heroin, a .380 caliber pistol, and .380 caliber ammunition.  Before the search, Ambrose had felony crimes for trafficking in a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, possession of drug proceeds, and felon in possession of firearm.  Federal law prohibits prior convicted felons from possessing firearms or ammunition.       

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Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Stephen P. Friot sentenced Ambrose to serve 144 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release.  In announcing the sentence, Judge Friot noted the nature and circumstances of the offense and Ambrose’s criminal history.


This case is the result of investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Oklahoma City Field Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Oklahoma City Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley L. Altshuler prosecuted the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods and Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiatives to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws.  The local implementation of these initiatives in the Western District of Oklahoma is through “Operation 922” which prioritizes prosecution of federal gun crimes connected to domestic violence.

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Reference is made to public filings for further information.