Federal sentence on firearms charges

By The Examiner staff

An Independence man who fled law enforcement officers in Jackson County several times on a four-wheeler will spend eight years in federal prison. 

Cody Wilkins, 29, was sentenced last Friday in federal court in Kansas City. He pleaded guilty last October to felony possession of a firearm.  

According to court documents, in February 2019, Independence Police investigators identified Wilkins as a drug dealer, and officers searching his home found a stolen and loaded handgun, marijuana, pills, pipes and methamphetamine. That led a federal grand jury indictment, and officers tried multiple times to arrest Wilkins on that warrant. 

In September 2019, Wilkins sped away from officers on a four-wheeler down a roadway and then a walking path, eluding police drone coverage. Four days later, police again tried to arrest him while he was a passenger in a truck. The truck driver sped away, and police stopped the chase for safety concerns. That same day, police again spotted Wilkins on a four-wheeler, but eluded officers at high speed on public streets and through a city park. 

Another four days later, still in September, Wilkins again tried elude officers on a four-wheeler, driving at times into opposite traffic lanes. Police had helicopter assistance this time, and after Wilkins drove into Mount Washington Cemetery in western Independence, he lost control and was thrown off the vehicle. He then tried to run away, and broke into an apartment nearby. Residents told officers Wilkins had broken into their apartment, where he was arrested. Because of the chase, Van Horn High School nearby was placed on lockdown for safety reasons. 

Court documents did not specify further where the chases happened. 

Under federal law, it’s illegal for anyone with a felony conviction to possess a gun or ammunition. According to court records, Wilkins has been arrested 32 times between 2011 and 2019, with five felony convictions and 14 misdemeanor convictions.  

Wilkins’s felony convictions include tampering with a motor vehicle, drug possession of a controlled substance and aggravated stalking (threatening law enforcement officers’ lives). Wilkins’s misdemeanor convictions include domestic assault for attacking his girlfriend, resisting arrest, traffic violations, drug possession of a controlled substance, careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.