Three local defendants face federal firearm charges after indictments by a U.S. District Court grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia.
Those named in federal indictments from the February 2021 term of the U.S. District Court grand jury include:
- William Thomas Nealous III, 30, of Martinez, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Possession of Methamphetamine.
- Julian Theophilus Moffett, 39, of Augusta, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
- Robert Kenneth Williams, 32, of Augusta, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
All of those charged are prohibited from possessing firearms because of prior felony convictions or illegal drug use. The cases are being investigated under the Department of Justice initiative targeting illegal firearms, and in coordination with the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF) and local law enforcement agencies.
“Getting illegally possessed firearms out of the hands of convicted felons is a high priority of our law enforcement partners,” said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “This collaborative effort to enforce existing law makes our streets safer.”
In the past three years, more than 650 defendants were federally charged in the Southern District of Georgia for illegal firearms offenses – most often for carrying a firearm after having been convicted of a previous felony. The charge carries a penalty upon conviction of up to 10 years in prison, and there is no parole in the federal system.
The charge of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon carries a possible penalty upon conviction of up to 10 years in prison. There is no parole in the federal system.
In addition to these cases, several local defendants recently have appeared in court on firearms charges, including:
- Dominque Johnson, 32, of Augusta, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, fined $1,500 and ordered to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
- Ivan Hughes, 35, of Augusta, was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
- Patrick Allen Scott, 28, of Hephzibah, Ga., pled guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and awaits sentencing; and,
- Matthew Kyle Brazell, 34, of Grovetown, Ga., pled guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person, related to a prior conviction for domestic violence. Brazell awaits sentencing.
In addition to the ATF, agencies investigating the cases include the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
Under federal law, it is illegal to possess a firearm if you fall 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.