MACON, Ga. – A convicted felon caught with an illegal firearm and ammunition during the execution of a state search warrant was sentenced to prison this week, said Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
Jonathan Duneil Blash, 29, of Macon was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Tripp Self on Tuesday, September 8 to 27 months in prison followed by three years supervised release after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. There is no parole in the federal system.
Bibb County deputies executed a state search warrant for illegal drug activity at the defendant’s Macon apartment on February 10, 2019. Blash, who has multiple prior felony convictions, including theft by taking, was found in possession of a Smith & Wesson .38 special revolver and ammunition. Deputies also recovered drugs during the legal search. Blash admitted that he purchased the gun from someone off the street.
“Law enforcement is working hard in Middle Georgia to shut down the underground gun market which feeds criminal activity. Convicted felons caught in possession of illegal firearms will be held accountable at the federal level and will face prison without parole,” said U.S. Attorney Peeler. “I want to thank the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office and the ATF for their work in this case.”
This case was prosecuted 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 Bibb County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Macon. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul McCommon 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.