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Press Release

Convicted Felon Guilty of Illegally Possessing Firearm

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

ALBANY, Ga. – An Albany resident with several prior felony convictions pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a firearm resulting from a Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) investigation.

Lenwood Thomas, 40, of Albany, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute before U.S. District Judge Leslie Gardner on Wednesday, August 25. As an armed career criminal, Thomas faces a minimum of 15 years to a maximum of life in prison to be followed by a maximum of five years of supervised release.  Sentencing has not been scheduled, but will occur within 90 days. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Armed career criminals like Lenwood Thomas who repeatedly break the law while in possession of guns will face federal prosecution,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “Working with the local community and our state and federal partners, we will hold repeat offenders accountable for their crimes and do everything in our power to decrease violent crime across Southwest Georgia.”

According to court documents, Thomas was on parole when officers with the Department of Community Supervision (DCS) and Dougherty County Police Department conducted a search of his home on February 28, 2020, based on evidence that Thomas was conducting illegal drug sales, in violation of the law and of his parole conditions. Officers found a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol in the home, along with illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia. At the time the firearm was found in his possession, Thomas had numerous felony convictions. It is illegal for a convicted felon to possess a firearm. Following that incident, Thomas was arrested on an unrelated matter on June 14, 2021. At the time, Thomas had outstanding arrest warrants and was spotted by an investigator with the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit. During the attempted stop, Thomas drove away from the officers, committing numerous traffic violations in an attempt to escape but eventually lost control of his vehicle. When his vehicle came to rest in a ditch, Thomas ran away from the scene and was chased by an officer. During the foot chase, Thomas threw items of out a bag he was carrying, including illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia and a BMW key fob. When he was in custody at the Dougherty County Jail, Thomas was recorded telling a family member that he had  “5 ½ outfits” in the trunk of his BMW and asked the family member to get in touch with “Trell” as he would know what to do with them. Officers sought and obtained a search warrant for the BMW, finding 167.4 grams of cocaine in the trunk and a 9mm pistol.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, 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.

The case was investigated by the Georgia Department of Community Supervision, Dougherty County Police Department, and Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melody Ellis is prosecuting the case for the Government.

Updated August 27, 2021

Project Safe Neighborhoods