SAVANNAH, GA: Four defendants face felony charges including illegal firearms possession after indictment by a U.S. District Court grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia.
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). All of the defendants are prohibited from possessing firearms.
“Along with our law enforcement partners, we will vigorously enforce existing laws to keep guns from the hands of those who are prohibited from possessing them,” said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “We especially applaud our continued collaboration with the ATF.”
In the past three years, more than 665 defendants were federally charged in the Southern District of Georgia for illegal firearms offenses – most often for possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a previous felony. The charge carries a statutory penalty upon conviction of up to 10 years in prison, and there is no parole in the federal system.
Those named in federal indictments from the April 2021 term of the U.S. District Court grand jury include:
- Donald Lorenzo Evans Jr., 43, of Augusta, charged with Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute; Possession of Marijuana; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime; Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; and Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person, in reference to a prior conviction for domestic violence;
- Matthew James Gordon, 26, of Savannah, charged with Possession of Cocaine and Crack Cocaine, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
- Kevin James Allen, 42, of Savannah, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; and,
- King Coney, 29, 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.
In addition to these indictments, convicted felon Jonah Robert Schafner, 33, of Grovetown, was indicted on one count of Escape from Custody. On March 9, Schafner was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Augusta to 108 months in prison after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and Possession of Firearms by a Convicted Felon. The new indictment alleges that after his sentencing hearing, Schafner escaped from the Jefferson County Jail while he was awaiting transfer to federal prison. He was taken into custody four days later in Columbia County, and if convicted of Escape faces an additional sentence of up to five years in prison.
These cases also were 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; Savannah Police Department; the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office; and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service.
The cases are being prosecuted for the United States by Southern District U.S. Attorney’s Office Assistant U.S. Attorneys, including Project Guardian Coordinator Henry W. Syms; Jennifer A. Stanley; Joseph McCool; and Marcela C. Mateo.
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.
For more information on the lawful purchasing of firearms, please see: https://www.atf.gov/qa-category/atf-form-4473.