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Press Release

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Man for Gun Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that HAKEEM ALEXANDER COLES, age 24, a resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was charged on November 21, 2019 in a two-count indictment by a Federal Grand Jury for possessing an unregistered firearm and for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

If convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, COLES faces a maximum term of imprisonment of ten (10) years, a maximum fine of $250,000 and up to 3 years of supervised release years of supervised release. If convicted of possessing an unregistered firearm, COLES faces a maximum term of imprisonment of ten (10) years, a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to 3 years of supervised release.

U. S. Attorney Strasser reiterated that the indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safe for everyone.  Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority.  In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, then Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN was launched in 2001.

This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.  The Violent Crime/Strike Force Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted this case with support from Project Guardian partners, including the ATF and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jesse Eshkol is in charge of the prosecution.

For more information on Project Guardian, see the Attorney General’s memorandum at:


Updated November 26, 2019

Project Safe Neighborhoods