Columbus Man Sentenced to Prison for Armed Drug Trafficking

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

COLUMBUS, Ga. – A convicted felon and documented member of the Crips criminal street gang organization operating in Columbus was sentenced to serve more than ten years in prison for armed drug trafficking.

Bobby Thomas, 25, of Columbus, was sentenced to serve 130 months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Clay Land on Nov. 29 after he pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession with intent to distribute heroin and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Federal authorities are working closely with our local partners to identify and hold armed and repeat violent offenders accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “Removing the most dangerous offenders from the streets is one part of a larger strategy to reduce violent crime in our communities through the Project Safe Neighborhoods program.”

“This sentence is a direct message to criminals that the FBI and the Project Safe Neighborhoods program focuses every day on dangerous criminals like Thomas,” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “If you traffic in drugs and violence, you will be targeted, and we will ensure that you are prosecuted and removed from our streets.”

“Investigators from the Columbus Police Department have been diligently working on this case in collaboration with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office. Their persistence and dedication to bringing justice and accountability to the subject responsible for armed drug trafficking in our community is admirable,” said Chief Freddie Blackmon, Columbus Police Department. “This case is a great example of the incredible partnership we have with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our commitment to justice for the city of Columbus and keeping illegal drugs, weapons and validated gang members off our streets.” 

According to court documents and other evidence, a Columbus Police Department (CPD) officer observed a Facebook Live video of Thomas seated in a stolen car holding a tan handgun with an extended magazine; Thomas ended the video stating that he was going to the Peachtree Mall, a shopping center in Columbus. Officers located the stolen vehicle in the mall parking lot; Thomas attempted to flee officers on foot, but was taken into custody. The car had bullet damage and blood on the passenger seat. Officers found a loaded tan Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol with a 31-round magazine in the car.

On Sept. 15, 2021, CPD officers and FBI agents executed state arrest warrants for Thomas, as well as a search warrant of his residence. Thomas initially fled, but was taken into custody without incident. Officers found firearms and ammunition: a .45 caliber pistol with magazine; a Glock 23, .40 caliber pistol with extended magazine and ammunition; a KelTec, 9mm rifle with magazine; seven additional ammunition magazines; a plastic bag with various caliber rounds; and a box of .40 caliber ammunition. In addition, officers found heroin and drug distribution items. Thomas has a criminal history to include a felony conviction for methamphetamine possession; it is illegal for convicted felons to possess firearms.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results.

The case was investigated by the Columbus Police Department and the FBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Williams prosecuted the case for the Government.