Homeland Security Employee Who Carried Loaded Gun at Work Sentenced to 18 Months

Jonathan Wienke Courtroom Sketch 20160727_141958_resized
Bill Hennessy

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.
  • Wienke pleaded guilty to a charge related to a silencer found attached to a pistol in a search of his home.

A Department of Homeland Security employee who carried a loaded gun at work was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Jonathan Leigh Wienke, 46, pleaded guilty in December to making a firearm in violation of the National Firearms Act. The charge relates to a silencer found attached to a pistol in a search of Wienke's home. The silencer qualifies as a firearm and was made by Wienke, which he is not licensed to do. It did not have a manufacturer's identification mark or serial number, which the National Firearms Act requires.

In June, security officers found Wienke with a gun 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 the request for court permission to raid his home about 75 miles from Washington in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Multiple federal charges were filed after investigators seized 19 firearms and 10,000 to 50,000 rounds of ammunition when executing the search warrant at his home, according to a court filing. Agents also found items in the kitchen “consistent with those sometimes used to make improvised explosives,” but the items were not considered contraband and not seized.

In court documents, an 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 DHS Chief Security Officer Richard McComb told a House homeland security subcommittee there is "no indication" Wienke was "planning or conspiring to commit workplace violence."

According court documents, 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 by agency security to proceed to his office, according to court documents.

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

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

Weinke's DHS status remains suspended without pay.

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