SAVANNAH, GA: A previously convicted felon found carrying a gun after a Savannah protest has pled guilty to a federal firearms charge.
Arkeem Collins, 24, of Savannah, pled guilty in U.S. District Court to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The plea subjects Collins to a possible penalty of up to 10 years in prison, and there is no parole in the federal system.
“Protests this spring throughout the Southern District were peaceful,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “As this prosecution demonstrates, we will not tolerate those who violate the law under the guise of exercising constitutional rights.”
According to court documents and testimony, Savannah Police officers on May 31 were enforcing a citywide curfew, declared by the mayor after a protest march in the city. Collins was captured after running from officers, who found a pistol in his pocket. In his plea agreement, Collins admits knowing that as a previously convicted felon he is prohibited from possessing firearms.
“The defendant had no business carrying a firearm given his previous criminal conduct,” said Beau Kolodka, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). “ATF’s partnership with the Savannah Police Department will continue to focus on getting illegally possessed firearms off our streets.”
“We are pleased with the federal assistance we received in this investigation leading to the prosecution of an armed convicted felon,” said Savannah Police Chief Roy W. Minter Jr. “Convicted felons should never be in possession of a firearm. Part of our mission is to aggressively address possession of firearms by persons in our community who are convicted felons.”
The case was investigated by the ATF and the Savannah Police Department, and is being prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Bearden.