Homeland Security Employee Pleads Not Guilty to Gun Charges - NBC4 Washington
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Homeland Security Employee Pleads Not Guilty to Gun Charges



    DHS Worker Pleads Not Guilty to Gun Charges

    Jonathan Wienke was arrested after he was accused of having a gun in his desk at the Department of Homeland Security. He pleaded not guilty and was released. But Wienke returned to court on different charges today -- possessing or making illegal guns and silencers. News4's Scott MacFarlane reports. Courtroom sketches by Bill Hennessy. (Published Wednesday, July 27, 2016)

    What to Know

    • Jonathan Wienke was found with weapons by security officers at Homeland Security headquarters in June.

    • A search of his West Virginia home found multiple illegal weapons, according to court documents.

    • Authorities arrested Wienke in Pennsylvania Friday in relation to the search warrant on his house.

    A Department of Homeland Security employee accused of taking weapons to work pleaded not guilty to gun charges Wednesday.

    Federal government analyst Jonathan Leigh Wienke, 45, is charged with illegally building a silencer on an unregistered pistol and having materials to build more silencers, according to the seven-count grand jury indictment unsealed Friday in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg, West Virginia. The charges carry up to a 10-year prison term.

    Wienke had no comment for News4 Wednesday.

    He was found with the gun by security officers while he was on the job at agency headquarters on Nebraska Avenue in northwest D.C., according to court filings obtained by the News4 I-Team.

    A federal agent and security officers also found Wienke had a knife, pepper spray, thermal imaging equipment and radio devices, according to a request for court permission to raid Wienke’s Martinsburg home.

    Authorities arrested Wienke in Pennsylvania Friday in relation to a search warrant last month on his house in Martinsburg, about 75 miles from Washington.

    Though the newly filed federal criminal charges do not specify if evidence was seized during a raid of Wienke’s home, the court filings said Wienke possessed multiple illegal firearms. The court filings from prosecutors said the firearms do not display serial numbers or manufacturing markings. Prosecutors said Wienke was also found with “cylindrical” devices capable of silencing the firing of a gun.

    The federal charges do not reference Wienke’s arrest at DHS headquarters. D.C. prosecutors said they are awaiting the decision of a grand jury before further action is taken in that case. Wienke previously pleaded not guilty in the D.C. case.

    The feds said in the court filing that Wienke was found in his workspace, which is in close proximity to a meeting of senior agency officials the day of his arrest, and that Wienke was aware of the meeting.

    In the same court filing, the agent said there was “probable cause to believe Jonathan Wienke was conspiring with another to commit workplace violence, and more particularly may have been conspiring or planning to commit violence against the senior DHS officials in the building.”

    But this month, the department's chief security officer, Richard McComb, told a House homeland security subcommittee that there is "no indication" Wienke was "planning or conspiring to commit workplace violence."

    According to the court filing, Wienke was chosen for a random security screening when he arrived at agency headquarters about 7:30 a.m. June 9. The feds, in their filing, said security officers found the knife, pepper spray, thermal imaging equipment and radio devices during the screening and seized them.

    But he was allowed to proceed to his office by agency security, according to their court filing.

    About 90 minutes later, before the meeting of the senior DHS officials near Wienke’s work area, security went to Wienke and asked him to undergo another screening, according to the court filing. During that screening, the feds found the loaded gun and the five hollow-point bullets, the filing said.

    According to the court record, Wienke had a top-secret clearance inside DHS headquarters, a building which has 3,000 employees.

    Initially he was charged with carrying a pistol without a license. He was placed on administrative leave from his job after his initial arrest, and a judge barred him from entering DHS headquarters while the investigation continues.

    On July 11, another DHS employee was caught with a gun at headquarters. Thomas Pressley, a contractor who works in IT for the agency, pleaded not guilty.