Six Men Indicted for Illegal Firearms Possession, Drugs

Six men indicted on federal charges for illegal firearms possession, drugs

Other defendants sentenced or await court dates in Southern District

SAVANNAH, GA (STL.News) Six defendants face federal charges including drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms after separate indictments by a grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia, while recent actions in U.S. District Court include guilty pleas and criminal sentences related to illegal gun possession.

The indicted cases, along with six additional cases in the Augusta area, are being investigated as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods in collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, to reduce violent crime with measures that include targeting convicted felons who illegally carry guns.

“Our office aggressively prosecutes previously convicted felons who illegally carry firearms,” said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.  “The safety of our communities is of paramount importance, and we won’t tolerate violent criminal behavior.”

In the past four years, more than 745 defendants have been federally charged in the Southern District of Georgia for illegal firearms offenses – most often for possessing a firearm after conviction for a previous felony.

Defendants named in federal indictments from the March 2022 term of the U.S. District Court grand jury include:

Justin Curtis Duke, 29, currently an inmate at Johnson State Prison, charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime; and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
Bobby Lewis Sturkey; 51, of Harlem, Ga., charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
Carlos Middleton, 21, of Savannah, charged with Interference with Commerce by Robbery, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence;
Robert Alexander DuBose, 40, of Augusta, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
Michael Jordan Sharp, 30, of Augusta, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
DeShawn Tisdale, 24, of Savannah, 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:

David Bryson Murphy, 21, of Thomson, was sentenced to 54 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and fined $1,500 after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. McDuffie County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Murphy April 25, 2021, after finding him with a pistol during a traffic stop.
Jamel Albert, 30, of Savannah, was sentenced to 57 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. S avannah Police officers found Albert in possession of a pistol during an April 2021 traffic stop.
Ashley Nichole Pitts, 30, of Hinesville, Ga., was sentenced to 36 months of home confinement 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.
Tommy Greene, 34, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute Eutylone (Bath Salts) and Methamphetamine, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.  The Savannah Police Department Violent Crimes Task Force arrested Greene in October 2020 after he ran from officers and was found with a pistol and a large bag of drugs in his pockets.
Larry Bennett Jr., 25, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Savannah Police officers arrested Bennett in January 2020 when they found him in possession of two pistols during a traffic stop.
Timothy Mario Mitchell, 24, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.  Savannah Police officers arrested Mitchell in August 2020 after a brief chase when a pistol fell from the waistband of Mitchell’s shorts.
James Kenneth Merritt, 35, of Waynesboro, Ga., awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.  Burke County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Merritt in December 2020 after Merritt drove away and then ran from an attempted traffic stop, dropping a pistol as he fled.
Barry McCormick, 26, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. McCormick was charged after a pistol fell down his pants leg during a November 2020 traffic stop by Savannah Police officers.
Kenya Leon Parker, 33, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Stolen Firearm. Savannah Police officers arrested Parker in February 2021 after finding a pistol in his possession during a traffic stop.
Hunter Cole Reavis, 25, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Reavis was on probation in March 2021 when agents from the Georgia Department of Community Supervision found a pistol during a search of his Savannah hotel room.
Agencies investigating these cases include the ATF, the FBI, the DEA, the Savannah Police Department, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, and the McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office.

The cases are being prosecuted for the United States by Southern District U.S. Attorney’s Office Assistant U.S. Attorneys, including Jeremiah L. Johnson, Steven H. Lee, Marcela C. Mateo, Patricia G. Rhodes, and Henry W. Syms Jr., with firearms forfeitures coordinated through the Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney’s Office Asset Forfeiture Unit.

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