An Emanuel County resident is facing federal charges including 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 case is being investigated as 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) and the FBI, to reduce violent crime with measures that include targeting convicted felons who illegally carry guns.
“As many of our communities continue to fight violent crime, it is vital that law enforcement agencies work together to remove criminals with guns from our streets,” said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “We will continue to hold accountable those who endanger our neighborhoods by illegally possessing and using firearms.”
In the past four years, more than 770 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.
Defendant from Emanuel County named in federal indictments from the September 2022 term of the U.S. District Court grand jury was Joshua Jerome Russell, 27, of Swainsboro, Ga., charged with Possession of a Firearm in a School Zone, and Discharge of a Firearm in a School Zone.
Agencies investigating the case include the ATF, the FBI, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Savannah Police Department, and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
The case is being prosecuted for the United States by the Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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 from the ATF on the lawful purchasing of firearms, please see: https://www.atf.gov/qa-category/atf-form-4473.