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Press Release

Macon Firearms Trafficker Sentenced To Serve 16+ Years In Federal Prison

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

MACON, Ga. – A convicted felon was sentenced to serve more than 16 years in a federal prison today, the result of a lengthy investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office into illegal firearms trafficking in the Macon area, said Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.

Keon Hendley, 35, of Macon, was sentenced to serve 200 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell after previously pleading guilty to one count possession of a firearm and one count possession of cocaine. In addition, Hendley was ordered to serve three years of supervised release following his imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal system.p

ATF agents, working with a confidential informant (CI), negotiated the purchase of large amounts of firearms from Hendley, a convicted felon, on four separate occasions in 2019 at various locations across Macon. In total, 23 firearms were obtained from Hendley during this operation, along with methamphetamine and cocaine. Five of those firearms were confirmed stolen by the ATF.

“Shutting down this prolific illegal arms dealer in the Macon community has undoubtedly prevented additional crimes and violence,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is working closely with our law enforcement partners in the quest to curb gun violence and crime, and we will hold those breaking the law accountable. I want to thank ATF and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office for their excellent work investigating this case.”

“We must do all we can to take illegal guns off our streets,” said Arthur Peralta, Special Agent in Charge of ATF Atlanta. “ Firearm traffickers like Keon Hendley put guns in the hands of criminals which leads to violence, destruction and heartache for so many of our communities. The Bibb County Sheriff is committed to reducing gun violence in Macon and throughout Bibb County and ATF will continue to do all we can to identify, investigate and arrest anyone who sells guns illegally and threatens the safety of our neighborhoods.” 

“We can all be proud of the efforts of the Bibb Sheriff’s investigators and ATF agents to bring this gun peddling career criminal to justice. This case is a fine example of the success achieved by our local and federal law enforcement partnerships,” said Bibb County Sheriff David Davis.

The investigation was conducted 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 Bibb County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Criminal Division Chief Michael Solis and Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Calhoun prosecuted 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 December 10, 2020

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods