SW Georgia Resident Pleads Guilty to Firearms Charge, Sold Stolen Rifles
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia
ALBANY, Ga. – An Americus, Georgia, resident with a criminal history pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a firearm after he was arrested stealing rifles from the local Walmart, which he sold for cash and drugs.
Brandon Michael Hatfield, 31, pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon today before U.S. District Judge Leslie A. Gardner. Hatfield faces a maximum of 15 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a maximum $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 7. There is no parole in the federal system.
“The defendant stole several rifles in a matter of weeks, flipping them quickly for cash and drugs and thereby increasing the number of stolen firearms on the streets of Americus,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “Law enforcement at every level is working to reduce the number of firearms in the hands of criminals in an effort to improve the safety within every community across the Middle District of Georgia.”
“The unlawful acquisition and selling of firearms are serious crimes that feed and intensify the violence that plagues so many communities here and abroad," said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Beau Kolodka. "This investigation illustrates the collective resolve of ATF and our law enforcement partners working together to make a safer community.”
According to court documents, Hatfield attempted to steal a Rossi, 22LR caliber rifle from the Walmart in Americus, Georgia, on Nov. 18, 2022, but was stopped by Walmart employees before he could exit the store with the weapon. An investigation by Walmart’s security team revealed that Hatfield stole a total of five rifles on five different occasions from the store between Nov. 1 and Nov. 16. Hatfield admitted that he stole the firearms and traded them for money and drugs.
Hatfield has been convicted of several felonies, including dealing methamphetamine, escape and residential entry in Decatur County, Indiana, Superior Court. It is illegal for a convicted felon to possess a firearm.
The case was investigated by ATF and the Americus Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Redavid is prosecuting the case for the Government.
Updated May 25, 2023
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