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Press Release

National Constitutional Militia Member Pleads Guilty to Illegally Possessing Guns

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia
He Participated in Aborted NCM Plans to Kidnap, Attack Federal Officials on Thanksgiving

ALBANY, Ga. – A Mississippi convicted felon and member of an anti-government extremist group who took part in discussions to kidnap and attack federal officials on Thanksgiving Day 2022 pleaded guilty this week to illegally possessing firearms during a trip to Georgia.

Joshua Colston, 50, of Corinth, Mississippi, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon before U.S. District Judge Leslie Gardner on Oct. 18. Colston faces a maximum sentence of fifteen years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date will be determined by the Court. Colston is not eligible for parole.

“Extremist convicted felons who choose to illegally arm themselves will be held federally accountable when they are caught with guns in the Middle District of Georgia,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “I want to thank the dedicated FBI agents involved in this case for their tireless efforts to protect our nation and bring this defendant to justice.”

“Thanks to the hard work and collaboration of our law enforcement partners, Colston will spend significant time behind bars where he will not be able to carry out any of his extremist plans to harm members of our community,” said Rich Bilson, Supervisory Senior Resident Agent of FBI Atlanta’s Albany office. “This plea should send the message that the FBI is determined to hold violent felons accountable with lengthy prison sentences and no opportunity for parole.”

According to court documents, the FBI investigation revealed that Colston and others participated in discussions on a Zello chat channel entitled “NCM Leadership.” Zello is an encrypted push-to-talk application used on cellular phones. “NCM” is an abbreviation for the National Constitutional Militia, an anti-government extremist organization. Colston and other NCM members discussed a plan to kidnap or attack elected federal officials on Thanksgiving Day 2022. Ultimately, the Thanksgiving Day plan never developed due to the group’s lack of resources and poor health of the members.

FBI agents took Colston into custody on Dec. 14, 2022, in Fitzgerald, Georgia, where Colston had travelled to purchase horses. Colston told agents he planned to travel horseback across the country for several years and that he was preparing to go “off the grid.” The FBI believed that Colston had training in explosives and knew him to be a convicted felon. Colston was in possession of five firearms: a 9mm semiautomatic pistol, a .40 semiautomatic pistol, a .22 semiautomatic rifle, a semiautomatic shotgun and a .44 lever-action rifle. The semiautomatic rifle was reported stolen in Alcorn County, Mississippi. In addition to the firearms, Colston had a bulletproof vest and a significant amount of ammunition, including armor piercing rounds in his vehicle. Colston has prior convictions in Texas for third degree felony theft and a state jail felony for criminal mischief. It is illegal for a convicted felon to possess firearms.

This case was investigated by FBI and the Ben Hill County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy Criminal Chief Will Keyes is prosecuting the case for the Government with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division.

Updated October 20, 2023

Firearms Offenses