VALDOSTA, Ga. – A convicted felon with a lengthy criminal record was sentenced to prison for illegally possessing a stolen firearm, said Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
Charles Bernard Little, aka Jaquazen McQueen, 23, of Valdosta, was sentenced to 60 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Louis Sands on Tuesday, July 21 after pleading guilty to one count possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. There is no parole in the federal system.
Valdosta Police officers responded to a domestic assault complaint at a Valdosta residence on February 10, 2019. Officers found Little inside the residence and discovered a 9mm semiautomatic pistol that Little admitted he had purchased “on the street.” Officers later discovered the pistol was stolen in Lowndes County only nine days earlier. Little has several prior felony convictions for multiple crimes including violation of the street gang terrorism and prevention act based on commission of a gang related simple battery in Lowndes Superior Court and burglary in the first degree in Thomas Superior Court.
“It is illegal for convicted felons to possess weapons. We are working closely with our local law enforcement partners to identify criminal gun cases that warrant federal prosecution, where the punishment is without parole,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler. “Project Safe Neighborhoods is the Justice Department’s initiative to curb violence. Removing firearms from the hands of convicted felons is one piece of the strategy to reduce violent crime in Valdosta and across the Middle District of Georgia. I want to thank the Valdosta Police Department and ATF for their work in this case.”
The investigation was conducted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), 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.
This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.
The case was investigated by the Valdosta Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McCullers prosecuted the case for the Government. Questions can be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Director (Contractor), United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362