DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Mississippi

For Immediate Release

Thursday, June 24, 2021
Darren J. LaMarca
, United States Attorney

Gulfport Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Possession of Firearm

Gulfport, Miss. – A Gulfport man pled guilty to being an unlawful drug user in possession of a firearm, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Kurt Thielhorn, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

According to court documents, Gulfport Police officers and ATF agents executed a search warrant on the residence of Connor Higginbotham, 22, of Gulfport, as part of investigation into stolen firearms. Agents discovered 12 firearms, several of them capable of receiving high capacity magazines. Officers also discovered approximately 300 grams of marijuana and an unregistered silencer. Higginbotham was taken into custody and later admitted to purchasing some of the firearms and knowing they were stolen. Higginbotham also admitted to daily use of marijuana and frequent use of Percocet.

Higginbotham pled guilty to being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm. He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 23, 2021. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Gulfport Police Department, and the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Buckner is prosecuting the case.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, 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. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

New Orleans Field Division