Macon Firearms Trafficker Sentenced to Statutory Max Resulting from ATF’s Operation United Front Utilizing NIBIN Technology

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

MACON, Ga. –  A Macon man convicted on a federal gun charge for his role in trafficking semi-automatic rifles was sentenced to serve the statutory maximum of ten years in prison resulting from an ATF investigation utilizing the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).

Chadrick Purnell, 43, was sentenced to serve 120 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell on May 3, after he previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. There is no parole in the federal system.

“ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, known as NIBIN, has proven to be an invaluable resource for law enforcement in our continued pursuit to reduce violent crime in every community across the Middle District of Georgia,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to maximize every resource at our disposal to achieve this common goal.”

“Utilizing technology is a key part of ATF’s strategy to identify and prosecute individuals who commit violent crimes,” said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Beau Kolodka. “The combination of NIBIN and good police work has resulted in the arrest and conviction of a firearms trafficker who will spend the next ten years in federal prison.”

“These arrests and convictions show what technology, teamwork and street level investigations can accomplish. The partnership between ATF agents and Bibb investigators as well as the NIBIN technology has been essential in bringing gunslingers to justice,” said Bibb County Sheriff David J. Davis.

According to court documents, law enforcement used data compiled from NIBIN in order to identify locations where shell casings were collected from shooting events in Macon. These shooting events were then overlayed on a map, and teams of confidential informants and undercover agents investigated criminal activity in the areas with high density shootings. From May to July 2021, Purnell and additional co-defendants were under investigation. During this time, undercover agents and confidential informants purchased nine firearms and crack cocaine from Purnell, who is a convicted felon. The firearms included two semi-automatic rifles and a shotgun with an obliterated serial number. NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles. For more information on NIBIN, visit https://www.atf.gov/firearms/national-integrated-ballistic-information-network-nibin.

These cases are being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, the Georgia Department of Community Supervision and the Bibb County District Attorney’s Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Keyes prosecuted the case.