City man headed to trial on federal gun possession charges

A city man who pleaded guilty to drug-related offenses in Lycoming County in the late 1980s is headed to trial in federal court on a federal offense of possessing a semi-automatic handgun.

Rickey Lee, 55, of 616 Green St., was indicted by a grand jury on March 14 on a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, a charge that carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

On Monday, Lee, with his attorney Donald F. Martino, stood before U.S. Middle District Magistrate Judge William I. Arbuckle III for an initial appearance and arraignment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney George Rocktashel said the grand jury determined that Lee was in possession of the semi-automatic handgun on or before March 21, 2010. Lee had been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year and knowingly possessed a firearm and 9mm ammunition, he said.

Lee pleaded guilty to drug-related offenses in 1985.

Martino said he was not certain why the case went to federal court but suspected it had to do with Lee’s co-defendant, who pleaded guilty to a charge of giving a firearm to a person not eligible to possess it.

“Do you understand the charges?” Arbuckle said.

“Not really,” Lee said.

He entered a “not guilty” plea.

Arbuckle released him on bail and required him to remain under supervision by probation officers.

Jury selection is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. June 3 before U.S. Middle District Judge Matthew W. Brann.