Decorated 70-year-old Vet gets 7-years in federal prison on gun charge (VIDEO)

A Texas man who earned a Silver Star for gallantry in 1968 is headed to federal prison after he was found in possession of an unregistered select-fire rifle.

Alfred Pick, 70, of Plano, was sentenced by a federal judge on Tuesday to 87 months in jail followed by three years of supervised release. His crime, as reported by CBS DFW, was buying a full-auto capable M14 rifle in the early 1980s. While owning select-fire weapons are not illegal, they are required since 1934 to be registered under the National Firearms Act, something that Pick’s gun — which had an obliterated serial number — was not.

“He’s had it all these years never robbed a bank or done anything with it,” said Pick’s friend, Mark Shackelford. “Somebody that made one mistake and now 50 years later, he’s paying a really big price for it.”

According to court documents, following a tip, Pick’s home was raided by federal officials last October and 14 guns, principally handguns, were seized including the M14. This led to his arrest on a series of weapons charges — including NFA violations– and an order for detention by the court without parole.

In May, Pick changed his plea from innocent to guilty and was sentenced this week for possession of a firearm while an unlawful user of a controlled substance, namely marijuana, and cocaine. In his defense, Pick argued in court papers the “white powder” discovered in his home was oxycodone he crushed and put in the food of his cancer-stricken wife of 40 years to help her with pain. She reportedly died just before his home was raided.

While an artillery officer in the Army in Vietnam, Pick received the Silver Star, the nation’s third highest combat decoration for valor, after he took command of an infantry unit he was attached to after the commander was mortally wounded during an attack. According to a 90-page autobiography submitted to the court in his defense, Pick noted he was also shot down at least three times while serving as an artillery observer in small helicopters over hostile territory.

It was recommended that Pick be sent to FCI Seagoville, a low-security federal prison in Texas. In custody since his arrest, he was remanded to the U.S. Marshals this week.

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