OKLAHOMA CITY – Yesterday, MARIO LAIVEL THOMAS, 43, of Oklahoma City, was sentenced to 180 months in prison for illegal possession of firearms after he had sustained a felony conviction, announced U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester.
On October 7, 2020, a Superseding Indictment charged Thomas with one count of being a felon in possession of ammunition and two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms. On February 24, 2021, Thomas pleaded guilty to two counts of the Superseding Indictment. Federal law prohibits a person who has previously been convicted of a felony from possessing firearms or ammunition.
Public records reflect that on May 11, 2020, Thomas was under the influence of methamphetamine, marijuana, and a prescription opiate when his vehicle struck a gas pump at a gas station in northwest Oklahoma City. He fled the scene and was stopped by Oklahoma County Sheriff Office deputies and Oklahoma City Police Department officers. When Thomas exited the vehicle, a loaded firearm fell from his lap. Public records also reflect that on August 9, 2020, while out of custody on bond on related state criminal charges, Thomas, again under the influence of drugs, possessed another firearm. Thomas fired that stolen firearm multiple times at his girlfriend’s son as an argument escalated in front of the girlfriend’s residence.
Court records show Thomas has multiple felony convictions in Oklahoma County District Court, including:
- Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance in case numbers CF-2014-8162, CF-2013-4776, CF-2010-2265, CF-2010-1840, CF-2007-616, CF-2000-2644, CF-1998-7923, and CF-1996-2644;
- Possession of an Imitation Controlled Dangerous Substance with Intent to Distribute in case number CF-2010-2265;
- Domestic Abuse in case number CF-2008-3116;
- Escape from a Penal Institution in case number CF-2011-3373;
- Eluding a Police Officer in case number CF-2015-4324; and
- Felon in Possession of a Firearm in case numbers CF-2003-493 and CF-2014-8162.
Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Patrick R. Wyrick sentenced Thomas to serve 180 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. In announcing the sentence, Judge Wyrick noted the nature and circumstances of the offenses, and highlighted Thomas’ lengthy and violent criminal history.
This case is a result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Oklahoma City Police Department, and the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Danielle M. Connolly and Jacquelyn M. Hutzell prosecuted the case.
This case is part of “Operation 922,” the Western District of Oklahoma’s local implementation of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods violent crime initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. “Operation 922” prioritizes firearms prosecutions connected to domestic violence, including domestic violence abusers who possess a firearm and are either subject to a victim protective order or have been previously convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
Reference is made to court filings for further information.