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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Florida
For Immediate Release
Jason R. Coody, United States Attorney
www.justice.gov/usao-ndfl
Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Tallahassee Felon Sentenced to 120 Months in Federal Prison for Manufacturing Machineguns

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Garret D. Hodnett, 34, of Tallahassee, Florida, was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to possessing firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon, manufacturing unregistered National Firearms Act (NFA) Weapons, and possessing an illegal machinegun. The sentence was announced by Jason R. Coody, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

“Removing manufactured machineguns from the hands of felons and those who supply them directly addresses violent crime and makes our communities safer,” said U.S. Attorney Coody. “With the assistance of our local, state and federal law enforcement partners, we are committed to identifying and aggressively prosecuting those who illegally manufacture and distribute firearms to prohibited persons. This sentencing represents both the severe consequences of illegal firearms trafficking and our resolve to remove these weapons from our streets.”

After recovering two illegal short-barreled rifles which had been modified to function as fully automatic machineguns, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) began investigating the origin of the firearms. The ATF learned that those two firearms and others had been manufactured by Garrett Hodnett. The ATF learned that Hodnett was a suspect in a July 27, 2022, shooting of a dog in Gadsden County, as well as an incident on July 31, 2022, in Tallahassee, in which someone was threatened with a firearm.

On August 10, 2022, the ATF and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office executed a federal search warrant at a residence where Hodnett was living. Various firearms, firearm parts, and ammunition were found, including an AK-47-style rifle which had been modified to fire as a machinegun, and an AK-47 drum-magazine. A handgun found during the search of the residence matched a shell casing recovered from the scene in Gadsden County on July 27, 2022, at which the dog had been shot.

“North Florida is much safer with this violent criminal behind bars,” said ATF Tampa Field Division Special Agent in Charge Kirk Howard. “This complex, year-long investigation ended in a success only because of a hardworking and talented team of agents, local partners and federal prosecutors.”

Hodnett was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he was a convicted felon. Hodnett had six prior felony convictions, including prior convictions involving the illegal possession of firearms, but his longest prior prison sentence had been 15 months’ incarceration.

Following his 120-month prison sentence, Hodnett will be on federal supervised release for three years.

This conviction was the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Tallahassee Police Department, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James A. McCain.

This case 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. On May 26, 2021, the Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results.

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