Federal Jury Convicts Two Brothers under Project EJECT of Drug Trafficking and Possessing Stolen Firearms in Hattiesburg
Hattiesburg, Miss. – Brothers Victor Smith, 43, and Michael Smith, 42, of Hattiesburg, were found guilty on Wednesday of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and possession of stolen firearms, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, Special Agent in Charge Kurt Thielhorn with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Special Agent in Charge Michelle A. Sutphin with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Mississippi. The jury returned the verdict following a two-day trial before Senior U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett in Hattiesburg.
On August 25, 2016, Hattiesburg Police officers, supported by other law enforcement agencies, responded to a call for service at the Southern Village Apartments in Forrest County. Upon arrival, officers were directed to the Smith brothers’ apartment, where they found over half a pound of marijuana bagged for distribution, scales, and five firearms, two of which were stolen. On April 3, 2019, Victor Smith and Michael Smith were charged in a federal criminal indictment.
Victor and Michael Smith will be sentenced by Judge Starrett on June 10, 2020, beginning at 10:00 a.m. in Hattiesburg.
The case was investigated by the Hattiesburg Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew W. Eichner and Erin Chalk.
This case is part of Project EJECT, an initiative by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi under the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) and Project Guardian. EJECT is a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to fighting and reducing violent crime through prosecution, prevention, re-entry and awareness. EJECT stands for “Empower Justice Expel Crime Together.” PSN is bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.