News and Press Releases

7 defendants charged with gun offenses
after undercover investigation

July 23, 2012

DUBLIN, GA – A federal indictment, unsealed today in federal court, has charged seven defendants with a conspiracy to illegally traffic firearms. The indictment follows a 7-month federal and state undercover investigation in the Johnson County, Georgia area dubbed “Operation Gunrunner.”

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) initiated Operation Gunrunner in September of 2011, targeting individuals allegedly involved in the sale of firearms stolen during residential burglaries in the Johnson County area. During the operation, law enforcement purchased 23 firearms, many of which had been stolen.

United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “As a nation, we have many examples of what can happen when individuals illegally traffic in firearms. The United States Attorney’s Office must, and will, continue to aggressively prosecute those who endanger the safety of our communities. Successful investigations like these are the result of outstanding cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. We are committed to recovering stolen firearms and holding those who seek to profit from trafficking stolen weapons responsible.”

The seven defendants indicted on federal charges include:

Terryon J. Norris, 24, Wrightsville, Georgia;
Lakendon S. Brown, 23, Wrightsville, Georgia;
Frank L. Wesley, 57, Wrightsville, Georgia;
William T. Walker, 28, Wrightsville, Georgia;
Kendrick L. Dixon, 30, Wrightsville, Georgia;
Whitney T. Wittmer, 23, Wrightsville, Georgia;
Mercedes D. Jenkins, 21, East Dublin, Georgia.

Several of the defendants have been arrested today. The JCSO, Wrightsville Police Department, Georgia State Patrol, East Dublin Police Department and ATF participated in the arrests. Initial appearances are scheduled to be held on tomorrow, Tuesday, July 24, at the federal courthouse in Dublin.

Mr. Tarver emphasized that the indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial, during which, the Government bears the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Assistant United States Attorney Lamont A. Belk is prosecuting the case for the United States. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.


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