Felon with violent criminal history pleads guilty to gun charges

·3 min read

Jul. 10—ALBANY — 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 has pleaded guilty to a federal gun charge in a Project Safe Neighborhoods case.

James Currin, 44, of Bainbridge, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon before U.S. District Judge Leslie Gardner. Currin is facing a maximum 10 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. There is no parole in the federal system.

"The U.S. Attorney's Office is working with our law enforcement partners across the district to identify and stop violent, repeat offenders who are trafficking firearms in our communities by holding them accountable at the federal level," U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said in a news release. "Decatur County Sheriff's deputies safely apprehended this defendant, and their efforts have made Decatur County a safer place."

"There is no initiative more critical to ATF than increasing the safety of our communities," ATF Special Agent in Charge Alicia Jones said. "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.

"We will pursue violent criminals such as these wherever they may operate, and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

According to court documents, Currin, who is a convicted felon, was under investigation in September 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, along with methamphetamine and 36 marijuana plants. 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 Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice's violent crime reduction efforts.

The case was investigated by the Decatur County Sheriff's Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melody Ellis is prosecuting the case for the government.