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Press Release

Stone County Man Pleads Guilty to Illegally Possessing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime

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

Gulfport, Miss. – Eddie James Rhodes, 62, of Stone County, pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr., to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Special Agent-in-Charge Dana Nichols with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). 

In February 2013, the Stone County/City of Wiggins Narcotics Task Force received information that Eddie Rhodes and Stacey Bond purchased pseudoephedrine on multiple occasions and in multiple locations in order to manufacture methamphetamine.  Rhodes’ home was subsequently searched pursuant to a search warrant, revealing precursor chemicals, equipment and material consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine in what would be commonly referred to as a “clandestine meth lab.” 

Law enforcement officers seized pseudoephedrine, chemicals, equipment and materials used to manufacture methamphetamine, along with firearms and ammunition, inside a hidden compartment under a trapdoor in the floor.   Further investigation revealed that Rhodes and Bond conspired together to make pseudoephedrine purchases later used by Rhodes to manufacture meth, some of which Rhodes would distribute to Bond.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) joined the investigation and determined that one of the firearms seized was a 20-gauge, double barrel shotgun that had both barrels sawed off, creating a short-barrel shotgun.  The other firearm was a .22 caliber firearm manufactured as a rifle with the stock cut off or removed, creating a ‘pistol grip’ handle.  The ATF verified that Rhodes has had multiple felony convictions, making it unlawful for him to possess any firearm or ammunition. 

Rhodes will be sentenced by Judge Guirola on June 4, 2019.  He faces a minimum penalty of 5 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison plus a $250,000 fine and 5 years of supervised release.  

Bond pled guilty on January 30, 2019, to using a communications facility in facilitating the commission of an act constituting a felony under the Controlled Substances Act (aiding and abetting).  Bond will be sentenced by Judge Guirola on April 30, 2019, and faces a maximum of 4 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Stone County Sheriff’s Office, the Wiggins Police Department and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stan Harris and Annette Williams.

Updated March 4, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses