Macon Man Sentenced as Part of ATF’s Operation United Front

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

MACON, Ga. –  A third individual who pleaded guilty to a federal charge resulting from Operation United Front, an ongoing ATF-led investigation into illegal gun possession and drug distribution in Middle Georgia utilizing the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), was sentenced to prison.

Jasper Blackshear, 57, of Macon, was sentenced to serve 130 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell on June 8 after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base. Co-defendant Chadrick Purnell, 43, of Macon, was sentenced to serve 120 months in prison on May 3 after he pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Additionally, co-defendant Jermaine White, 33, of Warner Robins, Georgia, was sentenced to serve 37 months imprisonment on May 4 after he pleaded guilty to two counts use of a communication facility. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Addressing violent crime in Middle Georgia means utilizing every asset at our disposal, including high-level ballistics technology like ATF’s NIBIN, ” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “Nothing is more important than our collective work with our law enforcement and community partners to reduce violent crime and hold those responsible accountable for their crimes.”

“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 these defendants.”

“This conviction shows how gun violators and drug violators frequently run together. Therefore, operations like United Front are successful in ridding our streets of individuals who harm our communities by peddling guns and drugs. Our neighborhoods are made safer when these criminals are brought to justice,” said Bibb County Sheriff David 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, Blackshear and White 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. In May 2021, undercover agents and confidential informants purchased cocaine from Blackshear four times, one transaction included co-defendant Purnell, and a separate transaction included co-defendant White. Blackshear and White have prior felony convictions. 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 are investigating the cases.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Keyes is prosecuting the cases.