Northern Virginia

‘My Life Was Destroyed': Man Jailed for 7 Months Before Charges Dropped

Former Old Guard member says police seized guns that were legally his

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A former Old Guard member who was arrested with a carload of weapons near Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Northern Virginia had all of his charges dropped — but says the incident has already destroyed his life.

Curtis Wells spent seven months in jail for alleged crimes that were just thrown out by an Arlington County judge.

"My life was completely destroyed and turned upside down. I'm $15,000 behind on my rent; all my accounts are charged off; credit's destroyed; reputation's destroyed," he said.

Wells says his life turned upside down last February. He was sitting in his car near Arlington National Cemetery, talking on the phone, when Military Police questioned him.

Military Police then called Arlington County Police, who seized guns that Wells says were legally his.

Police kept the guns and let Wells go, but nine days later, Wells says, "I got a call; they said I was able to come and pick up my stuff. I went down there to go and pick it up and I get arrested. They said, 'We're arresting you for receiving stolen goods,' and I was just confused at that point."

Police alleged Wells stole a rifle plate that was property of the military.

He sat in jail for seven months during the pandemic while his attorney, Andrew Clarke, fought the case.

"The FBI investigated; Arlington County Police Department investigated; Department of Homeland Security investigated — found nothing," Clarke said. "Still he was sitting there for seven months."

Clarke argued in court that, in addition to Wells not having committed a crime, police illegally searched him.

The judge agreed, writing the search "violated the Defendant's Fourth Amendment rights."

“The Arlington County Police Department remains committed to the safety and security of the Arlington community, however, we do not comment on rulings issued by the court,” Arlington police said.

The Commonwealth's Attorney's office has not responded to a request for comment.

"I mean, brother, at the end of the day, you may not have been doing anything wrong, but this is [being] Black in America, man," Wells said.

Now he's wondering how to pick up his life after all the collateral damage.

Wells said he is considering filing a civil lawsuit against Arlington County Police.

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