Seven men indicted for illegal firearms possession, drugs

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SAVANNAH, GA:  Seven defendants face federal charges including drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms after separate indictments by a grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia, while recent actions in U.S. District Court include guilty pleas and criminal sentences related to illegal gun possession. 

The indicted cases are being investigated as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods in collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, in an ongoing effort to reduce violent crime with measures that included targeting those who illegally possess firearms.

“I have prioritized targeting violent crime in this District and as we continue to work to protect our communities from violent crime, a key element is the identification of those who illegally possess and use firearms,” said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “With our law enforcement partners, we want to put everyone on notice that federal resources are being brought to bear and we will fight for the safety of our neighborhoods.”   

In the past four years, more than 730 defendants have been federally charged in the Southern District of Georgia for illegal firearms offenses – most often for possessing a firearm after conviction for a previous felony.

Defendants named in federal indictments from the February 2022 term of the U.S. District Court grand jury include:

 

Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Additional defendants recently have been adjudicated on federal charges that include illegal firearms possession:

Agencies investigating these cases include the ATF, the FBI, the DEA, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia State Patrol, the Georgia Department of Community Supervision, the Savannah Police Department, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the Brunswick Police Department, the Kingsland Police Department, the Dublin Police Department, the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office, and the McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office.

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The cases are being prosecuted for the United States by Southern District U.S. Attorney’s Office Assistant U.S. Attorneys, including John P. Harper III and Noah J. Abrams, Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Darron J. Hubbard and Timothy Ruffini, with firearms forfeitures coordinated through the Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney’s Office Asset Forfeiture Unit.

Under federal law, it is illegal for an individual to possess a firearm if he or she falls into one of nine prohibited categories including being a felon; illegal alien; or unlawful user of a controlled substance. Further, it is unlawful to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense or violent crime. It is also illegal to purchase – or even to attempt to purchase – firearms if the buyer is a prohibited person or illegally purchasing a firearm on behalf of others. Lying on ATF Form 4473, which is used to lawfully purchase a firearm, also is a federal offense. 

For more information on the lawful purchasing of firearms, please see: https://www.atf.gov/qa-category/atf-form-4473.

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