MACON, Ga. — The U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia said a federal jury has found a convicted felon from Griffin with a long criminal background guilty on an illegal gun possession charge.

According to U.S. Attorney Charles "Charlie" Peeler, 39-year-old Ronnie Lee Hughes was found guilty on one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon after a day-long trial in Macon on Wednesday, July 17.

The federal government has filed a notice of sentencing enhancement in the case, due to Hughes' eight prior convictions, which means he will face a minimum of 15 years to life in prison, five years supervised release and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on October 22, 2019.

According to facts presented in the trial, a confidential informant told Lamar County deputies that Hughes was selling guns. Deputies, working with the informant, set up a meeting in August 2016 to purchase the guns from Hughes. At the time, Hughes thought the buyer was an associate of the informant and that he would be paying a commission to the informant for setting up the sale.

Peeler said that at the time and place that the informant had set the meeting up with Hughes, deputies took him into custody and seized four weapons and ammunition.

The U.S. Attorney's office says that in addition to this most recent conviction, Hughes has had eight prior state felony convictions dating to 1999, including four separate entering auto convictions, three separate burglary convictions and one theft by taking conviction. The prior crimes were in Upson, Laurens, Pike and Monroe counties. Each of those were charged in Superior Court.

Hughes' last conviction was in Monroe County Superior Court in December 2008 for burglary. He was on parole when he was taken into custody on August 31, 2016.

"We are making it a priority in Middle Georgia to get guns out of the hands of dangerous felons," said Peeler. "The unlawful possession of guns by convicted felons leads to violence in the streets. Getting guns out of the hands of convicted felons is a proven strategy to reduce violence in communities."

This prosecution is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, 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. PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally-based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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