Skip to main content
Press Release

Convicted Felon Sentenced to Statutory Max for Illegally Possessing Guns in Project Safe Neighborhoods Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia
Defendant Tossed Guns, Ammo in Columbus Yard Attempting to Flee Deputies

COLUMBUS, Ga. – A Phenix City, Alabama, man with an extensive criminal history was sentenced to serve ten years in prison—the statutory maximum prison sentence allowed under federal law—for illegally possessing two pistols he tossed into the backyard of a home while attempting to escape arrest.

Raymond Richmond, 37, of Phenix City, Alabama, was sentenced to serve 120 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Clay Land today after he pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon on April 19. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Repeat criminal offenders are facing federal prosecution when they are caught with guns in Columbus,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “It’s going to take many different approaches to effectively reduce violent crime; holding violent repeat offenders accountable for illegally possessing firearms is just one part of the overall strategy. We are thankful for the continued collaboration between law enforcement and community partners working to make Columbus safer.”

“Taking illegal guns off the streets is critical in keeping communities safe. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate these types of crimes,” said GBI Director Mike Register.

“This case is another reminder that ATF remains on the frontline of preventing violent crimes along with our law enforcement partners,” said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Beau Kolodka. “We will not allow residents to suffer criminal behavior which threatens the safety of innocent civilians and law enforcement officers.”

“The message must be resoundingly clear for convicted felons in possession of firearms in Muscogee County: We will not accept this behavior at any level,” said Muscogee County Sheriff Greg Countryman. “They must know that we will pursue them and seek to fully prosecute their crimes. The Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office stands committed to staying the course to fight for safer neighborhoods.”

According to court documents, on Dec. 15, 2020, a deputy with the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), was in routine patrol in Columbus and observed a car without a brake light and attempted to initiate a traffic stop. The vehicle continued at a low rate of speed for several blocks but failed to stop. Near the intersection of 17th Street and Preston Drive—a residential section of the city—the vehicle slowed down and Richmond exited the front passenger seat with a black book bag and took off running.

A brief foot chase ensued, during which Richmond tossed his book bag in the backyard of a residence. Richmond was apprehended in the yard and the bookbag was located next to him in the shrubs. Inside, deputies found a .40 caliber Glock pistol with 26 rounds of ammunition, a .380 Kel-Tec pistol with five rounds of ammunition, along with crack, cocaine, pills and marijuana.

At the time of this incident, Richmond was wanted on several outstanding warrants. He has several prior felony convictions in Muscogee County, Georgia, Superior Court, including obstruction of a law enforcement officer, interference with government property and theft by taking. It is illegal for a convicted felon to possess a firearm.

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 Muscogee Co. Sheriff’s Office, GBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

Assistant U.S. Attorney Crawford Seals prosecuted the case for the government.

Updated July 18, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses