Federal Prosecutions Target Illegal Firearms Possession, Drugs

Federal Prosecutions Target Illegal Firearms Possession, Drugs

Federal prosecutions target illegal firearms possession, drugs

Ongoing initiative aims to reduce violent crime in Southern District

SAVANNAH, GA (STL.News) At least seven defendants face federal charges including those for illegally possessing firearms after separate indictments by a U.S. District Court grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia, while recent court action against others includes guilty pleas and criminal sentences.

The cases are being investigated in collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the FBI, and continue the initiative in the Southern District of Georgia to reduce violent crime by targeting those who illegally possess firearms.

“As we continue to combat violent crime with our law enforcement partners, it is imperative that we take guns out of the hands of those who cannot legally possess them,” said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.  “The typical excuse for felons carrying firearms is that they need them ‘for protection,’ but the fact is that they are the ones endangering our community.”

In the past three years, nearly 700 defendants have been federally charged in the Southern District of Georgia for illegal firearms offenses – most often for possessing a firearm after conviction on a previous felony.  That charge carries a statutory penalty upon conviction of up to 10 years in prison, and there is no parole in the federal system.

Defendants named in federal indictments from the September 2021 term of the U.S. District Court grand jury include:

Anthony Franzel Hamilton, 60, of Savannah, charged with one count of Conspiracy to Interfere with Commerce by Robbery; five counts of Interference with Commerce by Robbery, and one count of Attempted Interference with Commerce by Robbery; six counts of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence; Conspiracy to Possess a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence; and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
Alfonzo Lee Merriweather, 34, of Augusta, charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Crack Cocaine; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime; and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
Terry Kennard Isaacs, 36, of Beaufort, S.C., charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and Possession of Marijuana and MDMA;
James Deon Green, 50, of Savannah, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
Gregory Mitchell, 56, of Savannah, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
Tyrone Dion Lyons Sr., 37, of Hephzibah, Ga., charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; and,
B’Quan Ferguson, 31, of Savannah, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
August indictments against two other defendants related to the drug trafficking investigation in Operation Wynner Storm in Wilkes County, Ga., also were recently unsealed, and both have had initial appearances in U.S. Magistrate Court:

Demont Latrell Gresham, 33, an inmate at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison, is charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; and,
Tavaris Kexon Ramsey, 43, an inmate at the Colquitt County Correctional Institute in Moultrie, Ga., is charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Additional defendants recently have been adjudicated on federal charges that include illegal firearms possession:

Delvon Brown, 35, of Savannah, sentenced to 77 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.  Brown, who has multiple prior felony convictions, had a pistol in his waistband when arrested during a traffic stop Sept. 5, 2019, by Savannah Police officers.
Burney Cobb, 41, of Port Wentworth, Ga., sentenced to 77 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.

Port Wentworth Police officers arrested Cobb after finding guns during a search of his residence as part of an investigation into the sale of a stolen firearm. Cobb has a lengthy history of felony convictions including those for firearms and assault.  A codefendant, Deonte Brown, 27, also of Port Wentworth, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.

Alisha Nicole Howard, 35, of Augusta, was sentenced to 120 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Transfer of an Illegal Firearm, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and Distribution of Methamphetamine, Fentanyl and Heroin.  A co-defendant, Brian Thomas Myers, 35, of Beech Island, S.C., was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release and fined $1,000 after pleading guilty to Transfer of an Illegal Firearm – a sawed-off shotgun – to an ATF agent.  The two were charged after an August 2018 ATF investigation.

Matthew Moore, 31, of Savannah, was sentenced to 70 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.  Moore was charged after Savannah Police officers found Moore in possession of three pistols while investigating a disturbance at a Savannah motel in June 2019.

Moore has prior convictions including family violence, and was on probation at the time of his arrest.
John Calvin Young Jr., 35, of Rincon, Ga., awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to an Information charging him with Possession of a Stolen Firearm.  During a traffic stop on Oct. 24, 2020, Port Wentworth Police officers found Young in possession of a pistol that later was determined to have been stolen.

Dequan Beniman, 26, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.  Beniman was arrested in January 2020 when Savannah Police officers responding to a report of a man on a bicycle carrying firearms found Beniman with two loaded pistols in his pockets, along with a bag containing additional ammunition.

Tyshaun Richey, 25, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.  Savannah Police officers arrested Richey in October 2019 after a traffic stop and brief foot chase and found him in possession of a pistol.

Tron Smith, 34, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.  Savannah Police officers responded in June 2019 to a report of a man brandishing a firearm at a motel and found a pistol inside the room Smith occupied.  Smith’s criminal history includes multiple convictions for family violence and obstruction of law enforcement officers.

Jerry Allen Edenfield, 31, of Swainsboro, Ga., awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.  Edenfield was arrested Feb. 10, 2020, when Swainsboro Police officers investigating a domestic violence report found two pistols and a rifle during a search of Edenfield’s residence.

Ashley Nichole Pitts, 30, of Hinesville, Ga., awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.  Pitts was arrested in January 2019 when Liberty County Sheriff’s deputies responded to her home to investigate a complaint about a man brandishing a firearm.  Accompanied by an officer from the Georgia Department of Community Supervision, deputies found two pistols in Pitts’ home.

Timothy Lee Cheeks, 33, of Augusta, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of Ammunition by a Convicted Felon.  Cheeks was arrested on an outstanding warrant for a state methamphetamine possession charge in January 2021 when Richmond County deputies who were investigating a disturbance at a motel found a loaded pistol in Cheeks’ possession.

Matthew James Gordon, 27, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Stolen Firearm. He was charged in January 2020 after Savannah Police officers found a pistol in Gordon’s jacket pocket.
Dennis O’Keefe Harris, 41, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.  Harris was arrested Jan. 1, 2019, by Savannah Police officers who found a pistol in his waistband after he ran during a traffic stop.

Charles Walker, 54, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.  Savannah Police officers found Walker carrying a pistol in October 2020 while investigating reports of a shooting.
Jamol Marquise Cuyler, 33, of Augusta, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.  Cuyler was changed in January 2020 by Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies investigating a report of a road-rage incident.  Cuyler’s criminal history includes multiple convictions for armed felonies.
These cases also are being investigated under the Prosecutor to Prosecutor Program (P3), in which federal and state prosecutors collaborate to determine the most appropriate venue for adjudication of alleged crimes.

Agencies investigating these cases include the ATF, the FBI, the Savannah Police Department, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office, the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, the Port Wentworth Police Department, the Swainsboro Police Department, and the Rincon Police Department.

The cases are being prosecuted for the United States by Southern District U.S. Attorney’s Office Assistant U.S. Attorneys, including Henry W. Syms Jr., Patricia G. Rhodes, John P. Harper III, Tania D. Groover, Noah J. Abrams, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Darron J. Hubbard.

Under federal law, it is illegal for an individual to possess a firearm if he or she falls into one of nine prohibited categories including being a felon; illegal alien; or unlawful user of a controlled substance.  Further, it is unlawful to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense or violent crime.  It is also illegal to purchase – or even to attempt to purchase – firearms if the buyer is a prohibited person or illegally purchasing a firearm on behalf of others.  Lying on ATF Form 4473, which is used to lawfully purchase a firearm, also is a federal offense.

SOURCE: USDOJ.Today

About Waqar Nawaz 3722 Articles
Waqar Nawaz has published content for STL.News for approximately three years. He is dedicated to publishing news released by the US Department of Justice. He actively monitors the web for fresh releases to help keep the public informed.