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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 13, 2020

15+ Year Prison Sentence For Career Criminal Caught With Illegal Guns, Meth

MACON, Ga. – A parolee with multiple prior felony convictions was sentenced to a total of 188 months in prison for illegally possessing firearms and distributing methamphetamine, said Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.

Clifton Eugene Peterman, 51, of Eatonton, Georgia was sentenced on Wednesday, August 12 by U.S. District Judge Tilman E. “Tripp” Self to 120 months in prison after pleading guilty to one count possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and 188 months in prison after pleading guilty to one count possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, to run concurrently for a total term of 188 months in prison. This federal sentence will run consecutively to his state sentence from Putnam County. There is no parole in the federal system.

Peterman was on parole following a 2015 conviction in the Superior Court of Putnam County for possession of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon when deputies and officers with the Department of Community Supervisions conducted a legal search of his home, per the terms of Peterman’s parole. Officers found five firearms, including one semi-automatic rifle, one caliber lever action rifle, two semiautomatic pistols and .38spl caliber revolver. Officers also seized methamphetamine that Peterman admitted he was intending to sell. Peterman has multiple prior felony convictions. In addition to the 2015 conviction named above, Peterman was convicted on October 6, 2005 in the Superior Court of Jones County, Georgia for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, theft by receiving stolen property, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a sawed off shotgun. Peterman was also convicted on March 21, 2006 in the Middle District of Georgia for possession of a sawed-off shotgun.

“The defendant is a career criminal that clearly has no respect for the law and has shown no remorse for his past crimes. He will now spend the next 15 years in a federal prison, where there is no parole, and he will no longer be free to wreak havoc in our community,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler. “I want to thank the Department of Community Supervision, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI for their work in this case.”

"Peterman will get yet another chance to turn his life around in prison, and if not, the communities he has preyed upon can at least take solace that he won't be able to threaten their well-being for a long time," said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. 

“As for Mr. Peterman, we are truly grateful for the federal assistance in this case. Clifton Peterman is career criminal, a true recidivist and a virtual crime machine. As the federal system doesn’t have the revolving door machine of meaningless parole and probation the State of Georgia maintains, we know that Peterman will literally be locked away for the next 15 years and his incarceration for such a period will truly protect the public from this type of criminal,” said Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills.

The investigation was conducted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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 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. For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.

The case was investigated by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, the Georgia Department of Community Supervision and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Howard prosecuted the case for the Government. Questions can be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Director (Contractor), United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362.

Topic(s): 
Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Component(s): 
Updated August 18, 2020