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Press Release

Career Offender Sentenced To 360 Months After Guilty Verdict For Gun And Drug Crimes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia

COLUMBUS, Ga. –  A convicted felon with an extensive criminal history in both Alabama and Georgia was sentenced to 360 months in prison after being found guilty for criminal gun and drug charges, announced Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.

Freddie Clark, 43, of Phenix City, Alabama was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Clay Land on Tuesday, February 11, 2020. A citizen jury found Clark guilty on all three charges he was facing during a federal trial in September, including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. U.S. District Judge Clay Land presided over the federal jury trial in Columbus beginning on Monday, September 23, 2019. There is no parole in the federal system. 

“Decreasing violent crime in Columbus is a top priority of our office, and we will prosecute violent and career offenders to the fullest extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler.  “I hope this stiff 30 year sentence sends a message to all criminals that guns and drugs do not pay in Columbus, Georgia. I want to thank the Columbus Police Department and the ATF for their excellent work in this case.”

Mr. Clark was pulled over by a Columbus Police Department officer for extreme erratic driving March 14, 2018 at 3:30 a.m. on Buena Vista Road. Mr. Clark did not exit the car as directed, and upon approaching the vehicle, the arresting officer saw a pistol on Mr. Clark’s lap. The officer was able to remove the loaded Ruger .380 from Mr. Clark and the defendant was taken into custody. Officers found various drugs and 85 grams of methamphetamine on Mr. Clark and inside his vehicle. Mr. Clark has a total of eight prior felony convictions in Alabama and Georgia state courts.

This case was prosecuted 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

The case was investigated by the Columbus Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Williams is prosecuting 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.

Updated February 13, 2020

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods