Fitzgerald man handed federal court sentence, two found illegally in southwest Georgia

A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging a Valdosta resident with several child pornography production charges in an ongoing investigation. Content Exchange

ATHENS – A convicted felon with a violent criminal history was sentenced to federal prison after admitting he was in illegal possession of a stolen firearm in a Project Safe Neighborhoods investigation.

Nitgel Williams, 27, of Commerce, was sentenced to serve 68 months in prison to run consecutive to the state sentence he is currently serving by U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal. In addition, Royal ordered that Williams serve three years of supervised release. Williams previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Violent criminals found in illegal possession of firearms will face federal prosecution,” acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said in a news release. “Working with our law enforcement partners under Project Safe Neighborhoods, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will do everything within our power to reduce violent crime in Athens and across the Middle District of Georgia by holding repeat, violent offenders accountable for continually disregarding the law.”

According to court documents, Williams was pulled over by an Athens-Clarke County Police Department Officer the night of Feb. 12, 2020, for failing to maintain lane and driving 5-10 mph under the speed limit — both indicators that the driver was impaired. The officer observed Williams attempting to hide a cut straw, which is commonly used to ingest illegal narcotics, inside the vehicle. During a legal search of William’s vehicle, the officer located cocaine, heroin and a stolen .45 caliber pistol. Williams was previously convicted of aggravated assault in the Superior Court of Clarke County. It is illegal for a convicted felon to possess a firearm.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.

The case was investigated by the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, the Northeast Georgia Regional Drug Task Force and the Athens-Clarke County Police Department Gang Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Morrison is prosecuting the case for the government.

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