One sentenced, four awaiting sentencing on federal firearms charges


Handcuffs sit on a table in this file photo. (Credit: Getty Images)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – One man in the CSRA has been sentenced to federal prison while four others, who admitted to firearms felonies, await sentencing.

21-year-old Joseph M. Powell of Waynesboro was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Powell was also ordered to serve three years supervised release after completing his prison sentence.

Acting U.S. Attorney Estes said, “Getting guns out of the hands of criminals is an essential part of keeping our communities safe. We will continue to work in collaboration with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who would illegally possess firearms.”

Powell was on felony probation from a firearm conviction in 2009 where he admitted to selling a 12-gauge shotgun that was sawed-off to an undercover agent.

33-year-old Joe Lewis Hills aka Polo or Davis Owens of Augusta is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute Marijuana and Heroin and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Hills and 28-year-old Edward Albert Brown of Augusta were arrested July 29, 2019 after Richmond County Sheriff’s Office investigators searched their hotel room and found drugs and an AR-15 with two loaded, high-capacity magazines.

27-year-old Kenneth Wayne Jones of Augusta is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a convicted felon. Jones was previously convicted of a felony involving gun violence and admitted to possessing a semi-automatic pistol when he was arrested June 9, 2020 after a car chase that lead to a foot chase involving RCSO deputies.

29-year-old Clifford Lee Stone Jr. of Wrens pled guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He admitted to illegally possessing an assault-style rifle on April 28, 2018. He fled from a Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy in a car and eventually on foot.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office investigated these cases. They were prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patricia G. Rhodes, Jennifer A Stanley and Alejandro V. Pascual IV.

According to the press release,

“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 information on legally purchasing firearms, CLICK HERE.

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