Rick Wilson started 2013 free. Sentenced to 40 months on federal gun and drug charges, the man at the middle of one of the more peculiar crime and punishment chapters in Capitol Hill history walked out of prison in the final weeks of 2012 and started his life again on the outside with three years of probation to keep him company.
Wilson, now 42, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to export firearms and distribution of cocaine.
Wilson’s underground card room the Cafe (Un)American operated at a handful of Capitol Hill locations and was the target of this summer 2009 SWAT raid on a unit on the backside of the Winston Apartments building. The cardroom raid came as the last step in a federal case against Wilson involving Honduran drug dealers and alleged attempts to smuggle arms to Chiapas rebels. Here’s what the sentencing judge had to say about it all in 2010:
As for the old Cafe (Un)American space on the backside of the Winston, it may see yet more days as a speakeasy. The building’s new owners have longterm plans to construct a tavern in (Un)Amercan’s old digs. This time, however, it will be 100% legal and on the up and up.