(STL.News) – A Macon County, Georgia resident with a criminal history was sentenced to prison for possessing guns, said Charlie Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. Joe Oliver Butler, III, 38, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell on Tuesday, May 12 during a video conference hearing to 46 months in prison and three years supervised release after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. There is no parole in the federal system.
Montezuma Police pulled Butler over after he failed to maintain his lane while driving on February 5, 2018. Butler admitted he had been drinking, and also told the officer he was a convicted felon who was currently on probation and had two firearms on him, one of which was stolen. The officer removed a Smith & Wesson M&P 22, .22 LR semi-automatic pistol from Butler’s waistband and a Raven Arms MP-25, .25 Auto semi-automatic pistol from Butler’s pocket. The officer also found multiple bags of various types of drugs that were packaged for distribution, including a bag of n-ethlypentylone, also known as bath salts, weighing 11.491 grams, plus multiple bags of crack cocaine, methamphetamine, powder cocaine and marijuana, as confirmed by scientific testing performed by the GBI and the Montezuma Police Department.
“Convicted felons will get hard time for gun crimes in the Middle District of Georgia,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler. “One way our office supports law enforcement in protecting the public is to prosecute convicted felons for illegally possessing firearms. I want to thank the Montezuma Police Department, GBI and ATF for their excellent work investigating this case.”
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
The case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, 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.