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Press Release

Zohannon Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Assaulting a Federal Officer

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

COLUMBUS, Ga. – A Columbus resident and member of the Zohannon criminal street gang pleaded guilty to forcibly assaulting a federal agent as law enforcement attempted to take him into custody.

Christopher Upshaw aka “Trouble,” 25, pleaded guilty to one count of forcible assault on a federal officer with a deadly weapon before U.S. District Judge Clay Land on Jan. 23. Upshaw faces a maximum of 20 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Upshaw is not eligible for parole.

“Chris Upshaw violently assaulted and injured an FBI Special Agent and an FBI Task Force Officer who were simply doing their duty,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “We will not tolerate such attacks against members of law enforcement, and Upshaw will now face justice.”

“This case shows the risk law enforcement officers face on a daily basis” said FBI Atlanta’s Columbus Resident Agency Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Rich Bilson. “Upshaw violently assaulted both our Task Force Officer and a Special Agent. The FBI stands ready to investigate any crimes against officers. More than anything, we are thankful that the injuries were not more severe, and that this incident did not result in a loss of life.”

“This was another bad choice made by Christopher Upshaw while engaged in criminal wrongdoing. His intent to do harm towards law enforcement officers will be met with serious consequences,” said Muscogee County Sheriff Greg Countryman. “I hope others will understand the penalties that come from this type of behavior.”

According to court documents and the plea agreement, authorities identified a suspicious package from Northern California that was addressed to Upshaw’s residence on Buxton Drive in Columbus; it was set for delivery on Aug. 4, 2023. Upshaw was wanted on outstanding warrants at the time. FBI, DEA, Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office and Coweta County Sheriff’s Office members conducted physical surveillance at Buxton Drive on Aug. 4. The suspicious parcel was delivered at 3:30 p.m. and left on the front porch. The defendant drove up in his Dodge Charger approximately 30 minutes later to retrieve the package, which he put inside his vehicle and then entered the driver’s side.

At this time, multiple unmarked law enforcement vehicles with at least one flashing its emergency lights approached Upshaw. Law enforcement officers and federal agents—all of whom were wearing agency issued body armor equipped with law enforcement insignia—exited their vehicles and advanced towards Upshaw’s car in an attempt to arrest him. Upshaw began forcibly operating his vehicle in an effort to evade arrest. FBI Special Agent (SA) M.M. attempted to open the passenger side door. Rather than complying with law enforcement’s demands to stop, Upshaw accelerated instead. Simultaneously, as a result of the vehicle’s acceleration, FBI SA M.M. was unable to release the passenger door handle and was forcibly pulled into a nearby stationary vehicle. Upshaw also struck and damaged three occupied law enforcement vehicles. In addition, an FBI Task Force Officer (TFO) on scene was struck by Upshaw’s vehicle.

Upshaw sped away at a high rate of speed through the residential area and escaped but was captured several days later. During his flight from law enforcement, he discarded the suspicious package which was recovered by agents and contained approximately 17 pounds of marijuana divided into 14 bags. Upshaw has prior felony convictions for drug possession in Muscogee County, Georgia, Superior Court. Upshaw is a confirmed member of Zohannon, a hybrid criminal street gang based in Columbus with active conflicts among other gangs in the community. Upshaw is charged with attempted murder in Phenix City, Alabama, and is wanted for resisting arrest in Miami, Florida. These charges in Alabama and Florida are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case was investigated by FBI, DEA, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office and the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Williams is prosecuting the case.

Updated January 25, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime