You are here

Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 11, 2022

Six men indicted for illegal firearms possession, drugs

Other defendants sentenced or await court dates in Southern District

SAVANNAH, GA:   Six defendants are among those facing federal charges including drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms after separate indictments by a grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia, while recent actions in U.S. District Court include guilty pleas and criminal sentences related to illegal gun possession. 

The indicted cases are being investigated part of Project Safe Neighborhoods in collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, to reduce violent crime with measures that include targeting convicted felons who illegally carry guns.

“It is a priority of our office to collaborate with our law enforcement partners to target those whose illegal possession of firearms threatens the safety of our communities,” said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “We won’t tolerate violent criminal activity in the Southern District.”  

In the past four years, more than 750 defendants have been federally charged in the Southern District of Georgia for illegal firearms offenses – most often for possessing a firearm after conviction for a previous felony.

Defendants named in federal indictments from the April 2022 term of the U.S. District Court grand jury include:

  • Juan Eloy Quintanilla, 29, of Willacoochee, Ga., charged with Distribution of Hydrocodone and Methamphetamine; Possession with Intent to Distribute Five or More Grams of Methamphetamine; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime; and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • Rashejon B. Curry, 28, of Savannah, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine and Marijuana; and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;
  • Nequan O’Neal Roberson, 22, of Augusta, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • Charles Barnes, 50, of Savannah, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • Kareem M. Harris, 38, of Savannah, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; and,
  • James Hoffman, 37, of Savannah, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.

Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Additional defendants recently have been adjudicated on federal charges that include illegal firearms possession:

  • Charles Aimee Fields Jr., a/k/a “Slim,” 33, of Savannah, was sentenced to 72 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Distribution of Crack Cocaine, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Fields is among 14 defendants indicted in September 2021 for their roles in operating an open-air drug market in an area of Savannah called “The Dips.”
  • Demont Latrell Gresham, 33, of Washington, Ga., was sentenced 34 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Gresham ran from Wilkes County Sheriff’s Deputies and Georgia State Patrol troopers in July 2020 when they attempted to arrest him on an outstanding warrant, and officers found a rifle in his vehicle. He was arrested in August 2020 when located by Wilkes County deputies.
  • Ashley Lanier Powell, 39, of Pulaski, Ga., was sentenced to 18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and fined $1,500 after being found guilty at trial Nov. 8, 2021, for Possession of a Firearm by a User of Illegal Drugs, and Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person. Powell, who was on probation for a conviction of domestic violence, was arrested in May 2019 in Twin City, Ga., after a police officer saw two firearms in Powell’s vehicle. 
  • Charles Kevin Matthews, 50, of Carlton, Ga., was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and fined $1,500 after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Matthews was on parole for a prior state conviction when investigators found a pistol in his possession during a search of his girlfriend’s residence.
  • James Ricardo Harris, 29, of Augusta, was sentenced to 26 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and fined $1,500 after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Harris was arrested in May 2019 when Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies found him in possession of a pistol during a traffic stop.
  • Keyon Quinton Adams, 28, of Augusta, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. U.S. Marshals serving warrants for Adams’ arrest on Florida charges found him in possession of a pistol when they took him into custody in October 2021 in Martinez.
  • Phillip Allen Loughry, 41, of Baxley, Ga., awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Stolen Firearm. Appling County Sheriff’s deputies charged Loughry after he ran from a December 2020 traffic stop and dropped a pistol as deputies pursued and captured him.
  • Ricardo DeAngelo Norman, 33, of Augusta, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by an Unlawful Drug User. Norman was charged in the October 2021 indictment in Operation Washout, an investigation into a cocaine-trafficking ring in the greater Burke County area. 
  • Fredrick Connell Blount, 38, of Augusta, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Blount was arrested after a traffic stop in August 2020 when Richmond County Sheriff’s deputies found a pistol in the vehicle Blount was driving.
  • De’Montre Murray, 22, of Columbia, S.C., awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. A four-time convicted felon, Murray was charged after a June 21 chase by Glynn County Sheriff’s deputies and the Georgia State Patrol on Interstate 95 for 57 miles at speeds up to 100 mph. A pistol was discovered in the stolen vehicle Murray was driving.
  • Jamie Lee Cogan, 37, of Thomson, Ga., awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Cogan in April 2021 after finding him in possession of a pistol. Cogan was being sought at the time by Pickens County, Ga., authorities on a warrant for violating probation.
  • Antoine Ladson, 33, of Brunswick, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Brunswick Police officers arrested Ladson in January 2021 after finding him in possession of large amounts of drugs, cash and a pistol while loitering near a liquor store.
  • Treyon Antonio Williams, 30, of Savannah, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Stolen Firearm. Savannah Police officers investigating reports of gunshots in February 2021 arrested Williams on an outstanding felony warrant after finding a pistol in his pocket.

Agencies investigating these cases include the ATF, the FBI, the DEA, the Savannah Police Department, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, and the McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office.

The cases are being prosecuted for the United States by Southern District U.S. Attorney’s Office Assistant U.S. Attorneys, including Jeremiah L. Johnson, Steven H. Lee, Marcela C. Mateo, Patricia G. Rhodes, and Henry W. Syms Jr., with firearms forfeitures coordinated through the Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney’s Office Asset Recovery Unit.

Under federal law, it is illegal for an individual to possess a firearm if he or she falls into one of nine prohibited categories including being a felon; illegal alien; or unlawful user of a controlled substance. Further, it is unlawful to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense or violent crime. It is also illegal to purchase – or even to attempt to purchase – firearms if the buyer is a prohibited person or illegally purchasing a firearm on behalf of others. Lying on ATF Form 4473, which is used to lawfully purchase a firearm, also is a federal offense. 

For more information on the lawful purchasing of firearms, please see: https://www.atf.gov/qa-category/atf-form-4473.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Contact: 
Barry L. Paschal, Public Affairs Officer: 912-652-4422
Press Release Number: 
36-22
Updated April 11, 2022