U.S. Attorney Announces Recent Results of Federal Efforts to Reduce Violent Crime in Calhoun County

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

ANNISTON, Ala. – U.S. Attorney Prim Escalona announces that continued federal, state, and local law enforcement efforts to combat violent crime have led to four Calhoun County men being charged with federal firearms crimes in the last month. These indictments are the result of the collaborative enforcement strategies applied by federal and local partners to identify and focus enforcement on the most violent and highest risk offenders driving violent crime in Calhoun County.  Federal and local law enforcement collaborate in Calhoun County through the Department of Justice’s National Public Safety Partnership (PSP) Program, which Anniston and Oxford have been a part of since 2019. PSP seeks to leverage federal law enforcement assets in support of local efforts to drive down violent crime.

“The United States Attorney’s Office and our federal law enforcement partners are committed to sharing all available federal resources and support with our partners in Calhoun County to respond to escalating violence and drug crime,” said United States Attorney Prim F. Escalona. “By leveraging strong federal violent crime laws and protections, the Anniston and Oxford Police Departments and the Calhoun County Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s Office are utilizing every available resource to make Calhoun County safer and to deliver justice for victims. I’m thankful for their leadership and partnership in PSP and beyond.”

In June 2022, a federal grand jury indicted multiple defendants from Calhoun County: 

James Spears, 37,  of Oxford, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Spears illegally possessed a Taurus 9 mm pistol and ammunition during a traffic stop by Anniston Police.

Antoine McClellan, 32, of Anniston, was charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. McClellan was stopped by Anniston Police for a traffic violation. As officers approached the car, they noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle. A search of the vehicle yielded large amounts of illegal substances that were later proven to be methamphetamine and marijuana.

Otis Hunter 40, of Anniston, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Hunter illegally possessed a Springfield 0.40 caliber semi-automatic pistol.

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Charrezz Brown 25, of Anniston, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to the case documents, an officer who approached Brown’s car during a traffic stop saw Brown place what appeared to be a firearm under his seat. After a search of the vehicle, it was confirmed that Brown possessed a Glock 9 mm pistol and a 5.56 mm rifle.

These cases are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the Department of Justice’s violent crime strategy to bring together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce gun crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders collaborate 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.

“These indictments for illegal firearms possession are a lesson for every person who is prohibited due to a previous felony conviction or other circumstance,” said United States Attorney Escalona. “If you have been convicted of a felony or are a domestic abuser, you are prohibited by federal law from having a firearm, as well as ammunition. If you have been previously convicted of a felony and don’t want to end up in federal prison, stay away from all guns and ammunition,” recommended Escalona.

An indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.