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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Armed felons charged under the U.S. Attorney and Fulton County District Attorney’s Offices’ enforcement operation targeting repeat violent offenders

ATLANTA – Deuntrae Meshari Colley, Antonio Cooper, also known as “Antoine Cooper,” Dexter Hancock, Daeqwan Ray Jackson, also known as “Daequan Ray Jackson,” Donald Johnson, and Drashawn Mitchell, all convicted felons, have been charged with federal offenses, including possessing a firearm while being a convicted felon. These arrests resulted from coordination among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies as part of an operation under the Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN) Program.  This operation, named “Operation Phoenix Summer Surge,” focused on the arrest and prosecution of individuals who illegally used or possessed firearms in violation of federal law and are responsible for driving violence in the City of Atlanta.   

“Federal law enforcement is building on strong partnerships with state and local law enforcement to focus on those individuals who are the drivers of violent crime in the City of Atlanta,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “Through this district’s PSN program, and in collaboration with the Office of the Fulton County District Attorney, these partnerships helped to ensure that the individuals federally charged as part of this operation will remain in custody pending trial and be prevented from continuing to pose a danger to members of our community.”

“These convictions are an excellent example of how cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement partners can make our community safer by bringing dangerous offenders to justice.  We are cooperating closely with the Acting U.S. Attorney, ATF and other federal partners to make sure felons who break the law by possessing a firearm receive a substantial prison sentence,” said Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis.

“Operation Phoenix Summer Surge is the continuation of a sustained, systematic, and coordinated law enforcement initiative begun in August 2020 to fight violent crime in the City of Atlanta,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI is committed to working together with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Fulton County District Attorney and all of our federal, state and local partners to make these arrests because the threats we face are too diverse, too dangerous, and too all-encompassing for any of us to tackle alone.”

“ATF and our outstanding local, state and federal law enforcement partners have ensured the law-abiding citizens of this community are safer as a result of Operation Phoenix Summer Surge,” said Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Atlanta Field Division Special Agent in Charge Ben Gibbons.  “The law enforcement community has reduced a dangerous and pervasive threat to the local community of Atlanta by arresting these individuals.” 

“Getting criminals off of our streets is a priority for the Atlanta Police Department.  Our work with Operation Phoenix has proven time and time again that our partnerships are effective and making a difference,” said APD Chief Rodney Bryant. “Just knowing that these repeat offenders will be hold accountable for their actions, sends a strong message that we will find you and we will not tolerate criminal activity in our city.”

According to Acting U.S. Attorney Erskine, the charges and other information presented and alleged in court:

  • On August 6, 2021, Atlanta Police Department (APD) officers encountered Deuntrae Colley, 38, of Atlanta, Georgia, who was wanted in connection with an aggravated assault. He attempted to flee from the officers and discard a backpack. Colley was apprehended and the backpack was searched, where they recovered a loaded .22 caliber revolver and a spent shell casing. Colley’s criminal history includes a robbery conviction and an incident in which he’s accused of shooting a man on MLK Drive on July 11, 2021. On September 7, 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Colley for the offense of possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony offense.
  • On July 3, 2021, Dexter Hancock, 35, Atlanta, Georgia, was driving in the parking lot of Lenox Mall in Atlanta when he nearly collided with another motorist. Hancock pointed a loaded 9mm Taurus G2c handgun at the other motorist and members of the motorist’s family. APD officers responded to the scene and arrested Hancock. At the time of his arrest, Hancock was already on supervised release for a federal fraud offense and had been previously convicted of burglary and charged with possessing a weapon during the commission of a crime. On September 21, 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Hancock for the offense of possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony offense.
  • On August 5, 2021, officers with the APD and Georgia State Patrol responded to a shooting that occurred on Cleveland Avenue in Atlanta. Officers on the scene encountered Daeqwan Jackson, 22, of Lithonia, Georgia, who appeared injured. Jackson informed the officers that he accidentally shot himself with a loaded Glock 30 .45 caliber firearm, loaded with a magazine, that he was carrying. While conducting a background check of Jackson, investigators discovered that recently, in 2019, Jackson was convicted of two counts of Robbery by Sudden Snatching. On August 9, 2021, Jackson was charged via a federal criminal complaint with the offense of possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony offense.
  • On July 22, 2021, APD officers arrived at an apartment on Center Street in Atlanta in response to a 911 call from a woman who reported that someone had threatened her with a gun. The officers met with the victim and saw injuries to the victim’s left eye, mouth, and left jaw. The victim reported that Donald Johnson, 36, of Atlanta, Georgia, struck her in the left eye and mouth and later pointed a gun at her and threatened to kill her. The victim was subsequently hospitalized with a broken jaw. Johnson was eventually taken into local custody. APD officers recovered a loaded Smith and Wesson 38 Special revolver from a wooded area near the victim’s residence. The victim had reported to officers that they would find the gun in that area where Johnson attempted to hide it. At the time of his arrest, Johnson had been convicted of nine felony offenses and a misdemeanor offense of domestic violence. On August 24, 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Johnson for the offense of possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony offense.
  • On May 12, 2021, APD officers, while on routine patrol in the New Town residential area in Atlanta, encountered Drashawn Mitchell, 26, of Atlanta, Georgia, who had an active warrant in Fulton County for committing a burglary while on probation. After initially resisting arrest, Mitchell was taken into custody. During a post-arrest search of Mitchell’s vehicle, the officers recovered a loaded Taurus G2C 9mm pistol, an extended 9MM magazine, a digital scale, and illegal drugs, including heroin and cocaine. On September 14, 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Mitchell for the offenses of drug trafficking and possessing a firearm in furtherance of that trafficking offense, and possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony offense.
  • On November 28, 2020, an APD officer encountered Antonio Cooper, 35, of Atlanta, Georgia, at a supermarket in Atlanta. Cooper attempted to conceal a black Ruger 9mm pistol by tossing the firearm near an ATM machine in the store. Cooper’s prior criminal history includes 2020 convictions for aggravated assault and aggravated battery, and numerous drug trafficking offenses. On September 21, 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Cooper for the offense of possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony offense.

All of these defendants have been federally detained pending trial. Members of the public are reminded that the indictments only contain charges.  The defendants are presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the Government’s burden to prove the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This operation was part of the district’s PSN program and led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. 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 serious violent crime problems in the community and to develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As a part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders, and supports and fosters partnerships between law enforcement and schools, the faith community, local community leaders, and locally-based prevention and reentry programs – all to prevent and deter future criminal conduct and to achieve sustainable reductions in crime.

These cases are being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Atlanta Police Department, and Georgia State Patrol.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Natasha Cooper, Stephanie Gabay-Smith, Lauren Macon, Amy Palumbo, Erin Sanders, and Erin Spritzer are prosecuting these cases.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Updated October 5, 2021