Sep. 10—ALBANY — Three Southwest Georgia residents with lengthy criminal records entered guilty pleas in Albany federal court this week in cases that involved the illegal possession or sale of firearms.
Terry Allen Harris Jr., 37, of Moultrie, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Harris faces a minimum mandatory term of 15 years up to a maximum of life imprisonment and a $10 million fine.
Alexander Brown Sr., aka Poochie, 48, of Albany, pleaded guilty to distribution of heroin. Brown faces a maximum of 30 years imprisonment to be followed by at least six years of supervised release and a $2 million fine.
Antoine Robert Shell, 33, of Albany, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Shell faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. District Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner is presiding over these cases; all guilty pleas were entered on Sept. 8. Sentencings are expected to occur within 90 days.
"These individuals are all convicted felons with long criminal histories in their respective communities; it's a high priority for our office to bring repeat offenders with guns to justice," U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said. "I want to thank the many law enforcement agencies from the federal, state and local level who worked these cases and are actively at work in our communities to make them safer places for everyone."
According to court documents, Harris led Crisp County Sheriff's Office deputies on a high-speed chase on June 24, 2020, after deputies attempted to pull him over for driving 19 miles over the posted speed limit on Interstate 75. Harris exited the interstate, increasing his speed to more than 100 miles per hour in a 45 mile-per-hour zone, driving on the wrong side of the road and performing other dangerous maneuvers before ultimately crashing his vehicle into a birdbath and a tree on a residential property.
Upon approaching the vehicle, agents observed the magazine to a semi-automatic pistol at Harris' feet. Harris was taken into custody; a search of the vehicle recovered a Glock 19 Gen4 9mm pistol, seven bags of suspected marijuana, grinders, ledgers, a digital scale, an Altoids can containing approximately 15 grams of methamphetamine and some LSD, 59 rounds of ammunition, three extra magazines and $11,821.
Harris has multiple prior serious felonies, including a prior conviction for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He had been released from federal prison on May 20, 2020, a little more than a month before this incident.
According to Brown's plea agreement and court records, the GBI began investigating Brown in an undercover capacity in January 2021 for distributing heroin; multiple recorded purchases of narcotics from Brown occurred during the course of the investigation. On Sept. 15, 2021, an undercover agent acting as a person seeking to purchase controlled substances went to Brown's apartment on Maryland Drive in Albany. Brown offered to get the agent fully automatic AR-15 rifles, which he described as ghost guns without serial numbers. Brown advised the agent to take the firearms apart for transport to avoid arrest.
Brown opened pictures on his cellphone to show the undercover agent examples of the firearms he was offering. On this occasion, Brown also sold the agent heroin, which tested positive. On Oct. 14, 2021, GBI and FBI agents working jointly purchased a rifle from Brown at a residence on Askew Drive in Dawson. A search warrant of the Askew Drive residence occurred on Nov. 2, 2021, where Brown was taken into custody. Agents recovered $12,000, along with drug distribution paraphernalia and heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl. Brown has a criminal history with convictions in Dougherty County Superior Court, including a conviction for possession with intent to distribute oxycodone.
According to court records, an Albany woman reported to police on Feb. 17, 2022, that she heard gunshots while she was inside her home and that she viewed a man holding a gun with a long magazine, shooting at an adult and a child on a 4-wheeler on the 2300 block of Madison Street. Two spent .40 caliber shell casings were found in the street. Officers spotted the suspect, Shell, and a foot pursuit ensued.
Dougherty County Sheriff's deputies assisted in the pursuit and Shell was safely detained. Shell's bookbag contained a Glock, Model 22, .40 caliber pistol with an extended 30-round magazine and 26 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition, along with multiple bags of marijuana, a digital scale and plastic bags. Shell has a lengthy criminal history including convictions for aggravated assault for shooting someone and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony in Dougherty County Superior Court, as well as possession of a firearm by a felon in Cobb County Superior Court.
These cases is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.
Harris's case was investigated by the GBI, the Mid-South Narcotics Task Force and Crisp County Sheriff's Office. Brown's case was investigated by the GBI and FBI. Shell's case was investigated by ATF and Albany Police Department with assistance from the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Leah McEwen is prosecuting the Harris and Brown cases. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Redavid is prosecuting the Shell case.