South Georgia Man with Violent Criminal Past Sentenced to Maximum Prison Term for Possessing Numerous Stolen Guns

South Georgia Man with Violent Criminal Past Sentenced to Maximum Prison Term for Possessing Numerous Stolen Guns

ALBANY, Ga. – A South Georgia resident with a violent criminal history found in possession of numerous stolen firearms and who released his dog to attack deputies before he fled arrest was sentenced to the maximum prison term allowed under law.

James Currin, 45, of Bainbridge, Georgia, was sentenced to serve 120 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Leslie Gardner on Dec. 15 after he previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Repeat offenders with violent criminal histories who broker illegal drugs for stolen guns unquestionably make our communities less safe,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “Decatur County Sheriff’s Office deputies put themselves in harm’s way to locate and arrest this defendant, successfully stopping a firearms trafficker from moving more guns into the hands of criminals.”

“There is no initiative more critical to ATF than increasing the safety of our communities. Cases which result in the arrests and prosecution of violent criminals are fundamental to continuing this initiative while simultaneously showing criminals that ATF and its law enforcement partners will not falter in this mission,” said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Alicia Jones. “We will pursue violent criminals such as these wherever they may operate and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“A maximum 120-month prison sentence in this case was justified; attacking a law enforcement officer should not be tolerated,” said Decatur County Sheriff Wiley Griffin. “I am very thankful for the help of ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. I am satisfied to see justice was served in court, and that a repeat violent offender is off the streets.”

According to court documents, Currin, who is a convicted felon, was under investigation in Sept. 2019 for distribution of methamphetamine and illegal possession of numerous firearms. During this time period, Decatur County deputies were investigating a home burglary involving 20 stolen firearms. On April 1, 2020, deputies learned that the burglary suspect had traded six of the stolen firearms to Currin in exchange for methamphetamine. A search warrant was subsequently executed at Currin’s home. When deputies approached the defendant, who was armed and walking with a pit bull on a leash, Currin released the dog and ran into the woods. The dog attacked an officer while other responding officers ran after Currin but were initially unable to locate him.

During a search of Currin’s home, deputies found a total of 23 long guns and three handguns, as well as methamphetamine. Some of the firearms recovered from Currin’s home were confirmed stolen in the home burglary and some had obliterated or removed serial numbers. Currin was taken into custody on April 7 in possession of a semi-automatic pistol. Currin told investigators that he was planning “to do a suicide by cop.”

Currin has multiple prior felonies, including methamphetamine possession and felony battery-great bodily harm charges in Georgia and Florida. It is illegal for a convicted felon to possession firearms.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, 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 was investigated by the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melody Ellis prosecuted the case for the Government.

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