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Eleven defendants face federal charges including illegal possession of firearms and drug possession after separate indictments by a grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia, while recent actions in U.S. District Court include guilty pleas and criminal sentences related to illegal gun possession. 

The indicted cases are being investigated as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods in collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the FBI, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, in an ongoing effort to reduce violent crime with measures that included targeting those who illegally possess firearms.

“These indictments and prosecutions continue to send the unmistakable message: convicted felons are not legally allowed to possess firearms,” said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “Getting guns out of the hands of criminals is essential to making our streets safer.” 

In the past three years, more than 710 defendants have been federally charged in the Southern District of Georgia for illegal firearms offenses – most often for possessing a firearm after conviction for a previous felony.

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

  • Larry Bennett Jr., 25, of Savannah, charged with Possession of Alprazolam, Oxycodone, Codeine, and Marijuana with Intent to Distribute; Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug-Trafficking Crime;
  • Dillon Cole Gay, 28, of Pembroke, Ga., charged with Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute; Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug-Trafficking Crime;
  • Brandon Lamar Williams, 29, of Savannah, charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute; Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; Possession of a Firearm by an Illegal Drug User; and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;
  • Jamie Lee Cogan, 37, of Thomson, Ga., charged with Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute; Possession of Firearms by a Convicted Felon; and Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;
  • David Kreiss, 46, of Swainsboro, Ga, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; Possession of an Unregistered Sawed-Off Shotgun; and Possession of a Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number;
  • Raheem Dasheen Jackson, 29, of Savannah, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • Keyon Quinton Adams, 28, of Augusta, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • Asim Simmons Jr., 22, of Savannah, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • De’Montre Murray, 22, of Columbia, S.C., charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • Fredrick Connell Blount, 37, of Augusta, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; and,
  • Dontray Lewis, 42, 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.

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

  • John Calvin Young Jr., 35, of Sylvania, Ga., was sentenced to 120 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Stolen Firearm. During a traffic stop on Oct. 24, 2020, Port Wentworth Police officers found Young in possession of a pistol that later was determined to have been stolen. Young’s criminal history includes a prior conviction for armed robbery.
  • Telly Green, 33, of Savannah, was sentenced to 120 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Stolen Firearm. 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.
  • Darius Edwards, 33, of Pembroke, Ga., was sentenced to 51 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and fined $3,000 after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. ATF agents found Edwards in possession of an assault-style Mini Draco pistol during an investigation of a suspicious gun purchase in June 2020. Edwards was on state probation for a felony conviction at the time.
  • Kenneth Mitchell, 30, of Ridgeland, S.C., was sentenced to 60 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime. Mitchell was arrested Aug. 17, 2020, after Savannah Police officers found a loaded pistol and a large amount of drugs in a stolen vehicle Mitchell was driving. Mitchell has a violent criminal history that includes a previous murder-related state conviction, and also faces pending state charges related to his arrest.
  • Bryant Young, 25, of Savannah, was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. He was arrested July 16, 2019, after a pistol fell from his waistband when he ran from Savannah Police officers who were investigating a report of a man with a gun. 
  • Marquise Grant, 31, of Savannah, was sentenced to 21 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Savannah Police found a pistol in Grant’s possession during a February 2020 traffic stop. Grant has a prior conviction on state charges of armed robbery.
  • Matthew James Gordon, 27, of Savannah,was sentenced to 42 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Stolen Firearm. Savannah Police officers found Gordon, who was on probation after a previous felony conviction for state charges, in possession of a stolen pistol during a search in January 2020 for a wanted suspect.
  • Dameon Duncan, 21, of Savannah, was sentenced to 65 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release 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.
  • Dennis Okeefe Harris, 37, of Savannah, was sentenced to 84 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Harris was charged after a Savannah Police officer found a pistol in Harris’ waistband during a January 2020 traffic stop. Harris’ previous criminal convictions include a state conviction for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
  • Brandon Beasley, 23, of Ellabell, Ga., was sentenced to 34 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm with an Altered and Obliterated Serial Number. Beasley was one of five defendants charged following an investigation into an April 2020 burglary at a Bryan County gun store. The other defendants previously were sentenced to prison terms of up to 86 months. 
  • Charles Walker, 54, of Savannah, was sentenced to 37 months in prison and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Savannah Police officers found Walker carrying a pistol in October 2020 while investigating reports of a shooting.
  • Devonta Armon Stallings, 28, of Augusta, was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and fined $1,500 after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies spotted Stallings March 28, 2020, when he ran from a group loitering in a known drug area and tossed a pistol before being captured. Stallings was on state probation at the time of his arrest.
  • Timothy Lee Cheeks, 33, of Augusta, was sentenced to 16 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and fined $1,500 after pleading guilty to Possession of Ammunition by a Convicted Felon. Cheeks was arrested on an outstanding warrant for a state methamphetamine possession charge in January 2021 when Richmond County deputies who were investigating a disturbance at a motel found a loaded pistol in Cheeks’ possession.
  • Chavar Alec Harrison, 46, of Augusta, was sentenced to 21 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and fined $1,500 after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Harrison was charged after an April 2020 traffic stop when Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies found a pistol in his vehicle.
  • Blake McDuffie, 26, of Winder, Ga., was sentenced to 78 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release 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.
  • Jamel Albert, 30, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Savannah Police officers found Albert in possession of a pistol during an April 2021 traffic stop. 
  • Charles Aimee Fields Jr., a/k/a “Slim,” 33, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Distribution of Crack Cocaine, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Fields is among 14 defendants charged in September for their roles in operating an open-air drug market in an area of Savannah called “The Dips.”
  • James Ricardo Harris, 29, of Augusta, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Harris was arrested in May 2019 when Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies found him in possession of a pistol during a traffic stop.
  • Demont Latrell Gresham, 33, of Washington, Ga., awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Gresham ran from Wilkes County Sheriff’s Deputies and Georgia State Patrol troopers in July 2020 when they attempted to arrest him on an outstanding warrant, and officers found a rifle in his vehicle. He was arrested in August 2020 when located by Wilkes County deputies.

Agencies investigating these cases include the ATF, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia State Patrol, the Savannah Police Department, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the Pooler Police Department, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, the Wrightsville Police Department, the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office, and the McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office.

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., Patricia G. Rhodes, Tara M. Lyons, Jennifer A. Stanley, Marcela C. Mateo, Steven H. Lee, Joshua S. Bearden, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Darron J. Hubbard.

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