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Press Release

Two men sentenced for assault and armed robbery of government informant during undercover gun sale

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

ATLANTA - Michael Simpson was sentenced for assault and armed robbery of a confidential government informant who was assisting ATF agents as part of the Drug Market Initiative (“DMI”) in the English Avenue community.  Elgin Byrd was previously sentenced for his respective role in the illegal activity on February 27, 2018.

“These defendants will no longer perpetuate the cycle of drug and gun trafficking in the English Avenue community,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “We are committed to working with our partners to eradicate drug trafficking in this community.”

 “Any individual who is brazen enough to commit an armed robbery poses a clear and present danger to our community.  This sentence sends an unequivocal message that this violence will not be tolerated.  ATF and its’ law enforcement partners will continue to identify, investigate and arrest criminals who choose to use guns to commit their crimes,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Arthur Peralta.

“The City of Atlanta is making great strides in working to improve the English Avenue community and these arrests and convictions send a strong signal that such lawlessness and disregard for the community will not be tolerated,” said Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields. “The Department’s strong partnership with our federal partners is vital to our long-term public safety goals here and elsewhere throughout the City.”

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court:  Between July 27, 2016 and August 3, 2016, a confidential informant repeatedly purchased heroin from Byrd at an apartment complex in the English Avenue community as part of an undercover government operation.  Byrd also brokered a gun sale for the confidential informant at the same apartment complex.  On August 9, 2016, Byrd agreed to sell the confidential informant three guns at his apartment complex. Byrd lured the confidential informant to his apartment under the guise of a gun sale so that Simpson could rob the informant of the payment.  While the confidential informant was waiting in Byrd’s apartment, Simpson retrieved a gun from another unit in the complex and waited behind the building for the confidential informant to walk outside. When the confidential informant left Byrd’s apartment, Simpson robbed the confidential informant at gunpoint and fled. Simpson made off with $600 in government funds and multiple forms of electronic surveillance equipment that had been provided to the confidential informant to record the controlled buy.

ATF agents conducting surveillance saw the robbery and immediately responded to rescue the confidential informant. Within hours, agents arrested Byrd in his apartment and found Simpson hiding in his mother’s attic in a nearby home.

●Michael Simpson, 25, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. to 14 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Simpson pleaded guilty to assaulting the confidential informant and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to that crime on November 28, 2017. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy, robbery of federal property, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon on January 29, 2018.

●Elgin Byrd, 53, of Atlanta, Georgia, was previously sentenced to 15 years and nine months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release on February 27, 2018. Byrd pleaded guilty to distributing heroin, as well as aiding and abetting the assault and robbery of the confidential informant and Simpson’s brandishing of a firearm during and in relation to that crime on September 19, 2017.

This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Atlanta Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Hartigan prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). In keeping with the Attorney General’s mission to reduce violent crime, the Northern District of Georgia’s PSN program focuses on prosecuting those individuals who most significantly drive violence in our communities, and supports and fosters partnerships between law enforcement and schools, the faith community, and local community leaders to prevent and deter future criminal conduct.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Updated April 25, 2018

Project Safe Neighborhoods