A federal judge sentenced a Saxton man Thursday to 35 months in prison for his role in a 2013 Bedford County-to-Baltimore handgun trafficking scheme that followed a Saxton gun store robbery.
Joshua M. Faircloth, 27, of 216 Saxton Road, faces prison time, three years' supervised release and more than $6,000 in restitution for his participation in the handgun trafficking, which ended with Faircloth and a friend, 26-year-old Garrett Sherlock, crashing their car while fleeing Baltimore police.
In a presentencing memorandum to U.S. District Judge Kim R. Gibson, Faircloth's federal public defender, Christopher B. Brown, argued that Faircloth's poor decisions and weakness in the face of Sherlock's persuasion prompted his involvement in the scheme.
Brown sought a prison sentence below the federally recommended 46 months.
Brown wrote when Sherlock first proposed robbing Saxton Outdoor Supply in January 2013, Faircloth and his girlfriend refused to participate. Sherlock carried out his plan nevertheless, stealing a car alone and crashing it into the store's entrance before fleeing with 31 handguns, according to Brown and police accounts.
Sherlock arrived at Faircloth's home in the middle of the night, imploring Faircloth and his girlfriend to help him destroy the stolen car. Despite repeated refusals, they later agreed to ferry Sherlock and his bag of guns home after the ringleader burned the stolen car in a snow-covered rural area, Brown said.
"Sherlock was very, very persistent," Faircloth's attorney argued in his memorandum.
Sherlock later allegedly convinced his friend to help sell the guns to contacts in Baltimore. Unable to find a willing buyer, however, the pair drove through a low-income neighborhood and tried to exchange the guns for drugs, police said at the time.
Baltimore police spotted their car late at night and a chase ensued, with an allegedly cocaine-fueled Sherlock fleeing police for miles on the city's streets. The car eventually crashed, leaving both men in police custody and Faircloth injured with a broken neck, broken ribs and a concussion.
"In a span of less than 48 hours, Joshua Faircloth had been sucked into his then-friend's out-of-control drug addict world," Brown wrote. Faircloth has a history of drug use and drug-related charges, his lawyer noted; the requested sentence includes drug and mental health treatment.
Faircloth later pleaded guilty to a single count of interstate transportation of stolen guns, according to court filings. He faces several charges in Bedford County, including some for allegedly torching the stolen car.
Sherlock faces sentencing in August in federal court.
Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.