Operation United Front Results in Guilty Plea to Illegal Gun Possession by Macon Man Previously Convicted of Voluntary Manslaughter

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

MACON, Ga. – A Macon resident who was previously convicted and sentenced to ten years imprisonment for voluntary manslaughter in Bibb County pleaded guilty to a federal gun 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).

Jeffery Maurice Willis, 44, of Macon, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon before U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell on Oct. 27. Willis faces a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

“We will use every resource available to protect our communities from the threat of illegal gun possession,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “Working with law enforcement, our office will hold violent felons caught possessing or selling guns accountable at the federal level.”

“There is no initiative more critical to ATF than increasing the safety of our communities,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Beau Kolodka. “Cases which result in the arrest and prosecution of violent criminals are fundamental to continuing this initiative while simultaneously showing criminals that ATF and its law enforcement partners will not falter in this mission.”

“Jeffery Willis is an example of misdeeds happening in the past affecting someone’s future. Mr. Willis’ prosecution should serve as a reminder that a firearm violence conviction as a young person has serious consequences when that person decides to take up arms later in life,” said Bibb County Sheriff David Davis.

According to court documents, ATF agents observed and recorded Willis sell a .44 revolver and five rounds of ammunition in Macon on May 6, 2021. Willis had been previously convicted of voluntary manslaughter in case number 97CR47052 in the Superior Court of Bibb County, Georgia, on Oct. 20, 1997. It is illegal for a convicted felon to possess a firearm.

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This case is 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) and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.

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