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Press Release

Federal Jury Returns Guilty Verdict In Illegal Firearm, Methamphetamine Trial

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

Columbus—A convicted felon with an extensive criminal history in both Alabama and Georgia was found guilty late Tuesday on illegal gun and drug charges, announced Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. After deliberating approximately two hours, a citizen jury found Freddie Clark, 42, of Phenix City, AL guilty on all three charges, 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. Mr. Clark faces a combined maximum 512 months imprisonment for his crimes and will be sentenced on February 4, 2020. There is no parole in the federal system. 

“The penalties for serial criminals in the Middle District of Georgia are severe. Repeat, dangerous offenders will not be tolerated by law-abiding citizens or law enforcement,” said Charlie Peeler, the U.S. Attorney. “It is a priority of this office to target and prosecute violent offenders who harm the safety of our communities. I want to thank the Columbus Police Department and the ATF for their 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.

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 September 26, 2019

Project Safe Neighborhoods