For Immediate Release
Federal Law Enforcement Focuses on Violent Crime in Tuscaloosa
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), along with state and local law enforcement, have increased their focus on prosecuting violent crime in Tuscaloosa. The initiative was made possible, in part, by focusing on crimes that drive the violence. U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and ATF Special Agent in Charge Mickey French made the announcement.
“These efforts signify what can be accomplished when federal, state, and local law enforcement partners work together and combine every resource available to combat violent crime,” U.S. Attorney Escalona said. “But our work is not done. We expect additional prosecutions in the near future as we continue to focus on the scourge of violent crime. We are committed to working with our state and local partners in Tuscaloosa to make our communities safer.”
“The individuals who knowingly and unlawfully possess firearms, distribute narcotics, and use illegal substances while possessing firearms are a huge concern for law enforcement,” SAC French said. “The ATF works collaboratively with our law enforcement partners to swiftly remove violent criminals from the streets. The ATF’s primary mission is to combat violent crime in our communities, and we will work tirelessly to keep the communities that we serve safe.”
In April 2022, a federal grand jury indicted multiple defendants with firearm offenses, including:
Stanley Darnelius Wilder, 26, Tuscaloosa, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Wilder illegally possessed a Diamondback 9mm pistol.
Antawn Devonte Marshall, 25, Eutaw, was charged with two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Marshall illegally possessed a Sig Sauer 9mm pistol, approximately 29 rounds of Wolf 7.6x39mm ammunition and a Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol.
Johnny Dewayne Wells, 31, Tuscaloosa, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Wells illegally possessed a Cobra .380 caliber pistol.
Charles Anthony Leatherwood, Jr., 20, Tuscaloosa, was charged with possession of a stolen firearm and with being an unlawful and addicted user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm. Leatherwood received a stolen Glock .40 caliber pistol.
On April 28, 2022, Chief U.S. District Court Judge L. Scott Coogler sentenced Donovan Logan Crawley, 32, of Tuscaloosa, to 15 years in prison for illegal possession of a firearm. Crawley pleaded guilty in December 2021 to the charge. Crawley is prohibited from having a firearm because of multiple prior felony convictions.
In addition to the above cases, ATF, along with the Tuscaloosa Police Department, partnered in a two-day operation focused on reducing violent crime in Tuscaloosa. The operation resulted in the arrest of 35 individuals. ATF Special Agents and Task Force Officers arrested Devante Deshaun Stewart for a recent federal indictment alleging possession of two firearms after having been convicted of a felony. Tuscaloosa officers arrested individuals for a broad variety of offenses, including narcotics possession, pistol possession without a permit, distribution of narcotics, assault, outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court, illegal possession of pistols after convictions for certain state offenses, DUI, and leaving the scene of a crash, among other charges. Officers recovered a Jaguar automobile that had been stolen from the Birmingham area. Additionally, local narcotics investigators executed two narcotics search warrants during the operation. Officers also seized nine firearms from individuals who did not have pistol permits or were barred from possessing them because of prior convictions for certain felonies.
An indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.