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Press Release

Georgian Sentenced for Armed Drug Trafficking with Machine “Ghost” Gun

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

COLUMBUS, Ga. – A Columbus resident with a criminal history was sentenced to serve more than 15 years in prison for federal gun and drug offenses, including possessing a privately-made, untraceable machine gun.

Quintavius Harrow aka “Cootie,” 31, of Columbus, Georgia, was sentenced to serve 189 months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Clay Land on Dec. 19. Harrow pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, one count of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and one count of illegal possession of a machine gun on Aug. 15. Harrow is not eligible for parole.

“Quintavius Harrow carried a self-made and untraceable machine gun—a so-called ‘ghost gun’—while distributing methamphetamine, a dangerous combination for the Columbus community,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “Combating gun violence and preventing ghost guns from hitting our streets remains a top priority for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners.”

“The FBI, in collaboration with our law enforcement partners, are committed to the safety and security of our community,” said Rich Bilson, Senior Supervisory Resident Agent of FBI Atlanta’s Columbus office. “This plea removes a dangerous career criminal from our streets and lands him in federal prison, without the opportunity for parole.”

“This violent drug trafficker can no longer distribute dangerous drugs, such as methamphetamine, as he now faces the consequences for his poor choices,” said Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Division.

"Quintavius Harrow's possession of a privately-made, untraceable machine gun underscores the urgent need to address the rapid reproduction of such dangerous weapons,” said Columbus Police Chief Stoney Mathis. “This case exemplifies our commitment to public safety and collaborative efforts to combat violent crime. We remain dedicated to our partnership with federal and local agencies and community programs in reducing these threats."

“We will continue to work in collaboration with all law enforcement partners to remove these types of threats from our community for a safer Columbus,” said Muscogee County Sheriff Greg Countryman.

According to court documents, FBI and DEA conducted a controlled purchase of methamphetamine from Harrow using a confidential source (CS) on March 18, 2022. During the transaction, Harrow was filmed in possession of an AR-15 styled pistol and sold the CS two bags containing a total of 498 grams of methamphetamine. On April 26, 2022, Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Drug and Gang Task force agents executed a search warrant at a trap house located at 813 Coolidge Avenue in Columbus, where Harrow was observed selling methamphetamine to the CS the month prior. Harrow was in the home along with other individuals. Law enforcement found a variety of illegal drugs and several firearms throughout the house. Notably, in a back bedroom, officers located the same AR-15 style pistol Harrow carried on March 18. With no known manufacturer or visible serial number, the AR-15 style pistol had a large capacity magazine and 30 rounds of ammunition. FBI examined the AR-15 style pistol and determined it was a “ghost gun” equipped with an auto sear, which converted the firearm to a machine gun. Ghost guns are untraceable firearms assembled by private individuals from firearm components.

Prior to these incidents, on March 6, 2020, Columbus Police Department (CPD) Special Operation’s unit officers were surveilling the area of Elizabeth Canty Apartments. Officers observed several people standing near a vehicle, including Harrow. Upon approach by officers, Harrow began walking away and then discarded a yellow container containing methamphetamine and a stolen HK 9mm, semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine. Harrow was taken into custody with a digital scale with marijuana residue and $436 cash in his pocket.

Harrow has a criminal history for robbery by intimidation in Muscogee Co., Georgia, Superior Court and use of a gun with an altered identification mark in Chattahoochee County, Georgia, Superior Court. 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 FBI, DEA, the Muscogee Co. Sheriff’s Office and the Columbus Police Department, with assistance from GBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Williams prosecuted the case for the Government.

Updated December 20, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses