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Press Release

Jackson Woman Pleads Guilty Under Project EJECT to Transferring a Firearm to a Convicted Felon

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Mississippi

Jackson, Miss. – Tonya Danielle Ham, 36, pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves to transferring a firearm to a convicted felon, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and FBI Special Agent in Charge Michelle A. Sutphin.

On September,14, 2018, Tonya Ham, knowing her husband Wilmer Ham was a convicted felon, transferred a firearm to him that he dropped when he assaulted a Jackson Police Officer at a convenience store at 2:00 o’clock in the morning.  Ms. Ham purchased two firearms previously, one in 2017, and one in 2018.  The second firearm was possessed by her husband later that same day when he was detained by the store clerk who recognized him from the earlier encounter.

In August 2019, Wilmer Ham was charged in a federal criminal indictment with two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  He pled guilty and was sentenced by Judge Reeves on February 24, 2020, to 60 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and fined $1500. 

Tonya Ham will be sentenced by Judge Reeves on June 3, 2020, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Jackson Police Department.  It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Keesha Middleton and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Paul Fortenberry.

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.

Updated March 4, 2020

Firearms Offenses
Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods