Multiple defendants face charges for illegal firearms possession after federal indictments | USAO-SDGA

SAVANNAH, GA:  Six defendants face felony firearms charges, with two also charged with illegal drug 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) and the FBI.

“The enforcement of existing firearms laws is an essential part of keeping our streets safe,” said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “Our law enforcement partners continue to protect our communities by pursuing individuals who illegally possess guns.” 

In the past three years, more than 680 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. That charge carries a statutory penalty upon conviction of up to 10 years in prison, and there is no parole in the federal system.

Defendants named in federal indictments from the July 2021 term of the U.S. District Court grand jury include:

  • John W. Carter, 36, of Rincon, Ga., charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin and Marijuana; Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;
  • Antoine Ladson, 32, of Brunswick, charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl; Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;
  • Jamar Lavelle Alexander, 34, of Crawfordville, Ga., charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • Timothy Lee Cheeks, 33, of Augusta, charged with Possession of Ammunition by a Convicted Felon;
  • David Bryson Murphy, 20, of Thomson, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; and,
  • Christopher Lewis Tucker Jr., 21, of Thomson, charged with False Statement During Purchase of a Firearm, and Receipt of a Firearm by a Person Under Indictment.

  

Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Additional defendants recently have been adjudicated on charges that include illegal firearms possession, including:

  • Marcus Rashad Allen, 33, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Savannah Police officers found him in possession of a pistol in August 2020 after he ran from officers attempting to arrest him on an outstanding warrant.
  • Dameon Duncan, 21, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Savannah Police officers in May 2020 found Duncan in possession of a pistol during a traffic stop.
  • Telly Green, 33, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Savannah Police officers found him in possession of a pistol in August 2020 while investigating reports of shots fired at a vehicle in a Savannah neighborhood.
  • Khallid Marquese Wright, 24, of Augusta, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Wright, who was stopped in February by Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies for questioning in an unrelated case, was found in possession of a firearm.
  • Robert Kenneth Williams, 32, of Augusta, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies found Williams in possession of a pistol in April 2020 in a motel parking lot.
  • Joseph Jay Gartrell III, 37, of Augusta, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to an Information charging him with Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Richmond County sheriff’s deputies suspected Gartrell of driving under the influence when they found him asleep in his vehicle after 3 a.m. in November 2019. During a subsequent search, officers discovered drugs, cash and a firearm in his vehicle.
  • Blake McDuffie, 26, of Winder, Ga., awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Officers from the Pooler Police Department charged McDuffie in May 2020 when he was found in possession of a pistol after he sped away from a traffic stop and subsequently crashed his vehicle.
  • Devonta Armon Stallings, 27, of Augusta, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Stallings ran from Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies in March 2020 and tossed a pistol before being captured. He was on state probation at the time of his arrest.

These cases also are being 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; the FBI; the Savannah Police Department; the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office; the McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office; the Taliaferro County Sheriff’s Office; the Glynn County Police Department; the Pooler Police Department; and the Brunswick Police Department.

The cases are being prosecuted for the United States by Southern District U.S. Attorney’s Office Assistant U.S. Attorneys, including Henry W. Syms Jr., Marcela C. Mateo, Jennifer A. Stanley, Noah J. Abrams, Frank M. Pennington II, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Darron J. Hubbard.

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.

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