An underage gun-toting cocaine dealer was arrested earlier this year, but the judge suspended most of his sentence.

On June 9, Ocean City Police Detectives noticed 18-year-old John Kisesewa acting suspiciously at the municipal parking lot at Worcester Street. He was leaning into the trunk of a car and fiddling with something in a zip-lock bag. When he noticed that police were approaching, Kisesewa shoved the bag into the spare tire well.

When police arrived at the vehicle and tried to speak with the young man, he decided to run off. Officers were able to take him into custody after a brief foot chase. Apparently, he didn’t do a good enough job hiding his stash because the arresting officers discovered a plastic bag full of cocaine sitting on the asphalt beneath the vehicle. The cocaine was pressed into a solid brick and noted to be more than someone would ever possess for personal consumption.

Police arrested Kisesewa on the spot and charged him with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. As they searched his vehicle and person, they discovered a large bag of marijuana, a digital scale, and $658 of cash, all supporting the theory of intent to sell.

After a more in-depth search of the vehicle, officers discovered a loaded .32 caliber handgun in the spare tire well of the trunk. The pistol had an altered serial number, which indicates that it was likely purchased illegally and may or may not have a criminal past. On top of that, he was not legally allowed to own or carry a firearm because he is under 21.

Last week, John Kisesewa’s case went to trial and he pled guilty possession with intent to distribute cocaine and gave an Alford plea for possession of a firearm by a minor and altering the registration number of a firearm. An Alford plea is not an acknowledgement of guilt, but rather an acknowledgement that the prosecution has enough evidence to take the charges to trial.

On the cocaine plea, John Kisesewa was sentenced to five years in prison, but the judge suspended all but one year. On the Alford plea, he was sentenced to three years behind bars but yet again, the judge reduced the sentence down to one year.

So here we have an adult caught dealing both cocaine and marijuana, with an illegally owned, loaded pistol that had a defaced serial number, and he will only get two years for it. Less, possibly, because he will be eligible for parole in just a matter of months.

An illegal firearm possession carries multiple years in prison. Illegal carrying a loaded firearm without a concealed carry permit is punishable by multiple years behind bars. The fact that he brought a gun with a defaced serial number from Pennsylvania to Maryland would make this a federal crime punishable by multiple years in prison. Illegal possession of a firearm with the intent of committing a felony — dealing cocaine — is an additional crime. Then there is the intent to distribute cocaine (which was charged) and intent to distribute marijuana (which was not), each carrying the potential for at least five years in prison.

All told, this man could have gone away for a long, long time. However, the prosecutors decided not to fully charge John Kisesewa and the judge in his case decided to suspend almost all of his sentence.

This is becoming a pattern in Ocean City as of late, with criminals who are arrested during the summer receiving next to no time behind bars when their cases come before a judge in the fall. It is one thing if someone just got drunk and made a stupid mistake. There’s no need to ruin someone’s life over late-night skinny-dipping. However, when people commit serious crimes, they need to be held accountable, if only to serve as a warning to others who might commit the same crimes.

Read about how a young man arrested for firing a rifle into the air in Ocean City got his sentence suspended as well.