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Press Release

Birmingham Man Sentenced on Firearm Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A Birmingham man was sentenced yesterday on the charge of Felon in Possession of a Firearm announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosives, and Firearms Special Agent in Charge Mickey French.

Deontra Lamar Austin, 21, was sentenced on the charge of Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Austin was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Annemarie Carney Axon to 42 months of imprisonment followed by 36 months of supervised release.

On February 11, 2022, detectives of the Birmingham Crime Reduction Team (CRT) conducted surveillance on Austin due to his being wanted for Burglary First Degree and a parole violation. Detectives observed Austin entering the passenger side of a vehicle, and they followed the vehicle until it stopped at the Chevron Gas Station located at the intersection of Sunhill Road and Carson Road. As Austin exited the gas station, officers arrested him and retrieved a 9mm Smith and Wesson handgun from Austin’s waistband. Austin was prohibited from possessing a firearm because he was a convicted felon.

Austin is linked to the Hard 2 Kill gang. Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosives, and Firearms (ATF) investigated the Hard 2 Kill gang, better known as H2K. This gang operates in the Birmingham, Alabama area and is known to be involved in acts of violence, illegal drug distribution, and illegal firearm possession.

The case is a 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.

“Street gangs are responsible for much of the violent crime in Birmingham,” said U.S. Attorney Escalona. “To reduce the senseless deaths and injuries from gun violence, our law enforcement partners seek to identify the most violent offenders and use every available means to take them off the street. Prosecution of felons with guns is a very effective way to reduce the violence that plagues our communities.”

“The ATF prides itself in working with our state, local, and federal partners to take firearms out of the hands of individuals who knowingly and illegally possess them. In most cases, firearms are obtained illegally by gang members and passed around until they are recovered in some type of unfortunate criminal incident.  The hard work and collaborative efforts that the ATF and our law enforcement partners demonstrate on a daily basis allows us to successfully combat crime in and around the Birmingham area,” said ATF SAC Mickey French.

ATF investigated the case along with the Birmingham Police Department and the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Parole. Assistant United States Attorneys Darius Greene and Kristy Peoples prosecuted the case.

Updated August 10, 2022