Photo: Askild Antonsen/Creative Commons

by Robin Kemp

A man who pleaded guilty to having illegally bought 33 pistols from a Jonesboro gun shop over a 31-month period has been sentenced to three years, four months in federal prison.Several of those weapons later turned up at crime scenes throughout metro Atlanta and elsewhere.

Ben’Andre Javon Goolsby, 25, of Atlanta pleaded guilty January 11 of making a false statement to a federally licensed firearms dealer and unlawful receipt of a firearm.

Goolsby also was sentenced to three years of supervised release.

In May 2020, Goolsby also was charged in Clayton County State Court with possession of a firearm by a first offender on probation and violation of Georgia Controlled Substances Act. Online court records show that Goolsby bonded out–$10,000 on the VGCSA charge, $5,000 on the firearms charge, with special conditions on both–and the cases were transferred to Superior Court. On January 29, Goolsby was charged in Superior Court with possession of a firearm by a first offender on probation and possession of marijuana under one ounce. A bench warrant was issued after his February 22 arraignment. On March 17, the court issued an order to produce the prisoner for an April 16 probation/bond revocation hearing. That case is still pending as of press time.

According to a press release from the Acting U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia and court records, Goolsby bought 33 pistols, mostly 9mm and .40 caliber, sometimes buying “multiple guns of identical make, model, and caliber within a single week.” Each time, Goolsby had lied to the gun shop, saying that he was not under felony indictment. However, prosecutors say, Goolsby knew that he was under indictment in Rockdale County for a 2014 pawn-shop break-in where he and others had stolen “numerous firearms.”

The indictment named Arrowhead Pawn Shop on Tara Blvd. as the firearms dealer, listing Goolsby as the buyer of six pistols between October 27, 2018 and May 11, 2020–a 9mm Taurus G2C, a .40-caliber Glock 27, a 5.56-caliber Del-Ton DTI-15, a 9mm Glock 26 Gen 3, a .45-caliber Glock 30 Gen 4, and a .380-caliber Glock 42–which the indictment alleged had been “shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce.”

Federal law prevents people under indictment from buying firearms.

In September 2018, one of those 33 guns turned up during a Forest Park Police traffic stop, along with two other guns, a Taser, pepper spray, and walkie-talkies. The people in the care were “dressed entirely in black and had black masks and gloves,” prosecutors say.

And in 2019, two other guns that Goolsby had bought turned up in the possession of suspects arrested in Decatur. One was a fugitive wanted on aggravated assault charges. The other was in the possession of a 19-year-old suspect in a jewelry store robbery and burglaries at a dollar store and a gas station.

“Goolsby’s illegal purchases of firearms helped fuel the violence in our community,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine.  “Those who illegally receive, possess, and peddle weapons face prosecution and significant federal prison terms for their actions.”

“By putting guns in the hands of criminals, Mr. Goolsby has violated the trust of his community, the trust of those he should care about and has contributed to the unnecessary violence in our communities,” said Arthur Peralta, ATF Special Agent in Charge.  “It is not okay to buy guns for people who cannot legally own them and doing so has consequences.”

The federal court granted Goolsby credit for time served during “the undischarged term of imprisonment” in Rockdale County and “for the period of the defendant’s pretrial detention” in Clayton County.” However, the court emphasized, “no further adjustment will be made by the Federal Bureau of Prisons other than for good time”

The federal case against Goolsby was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore S. Hertzberg as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative. PSN “focuses on prosecuting those individuals who most significantly drive violence in our communities, and supports and fosters partnerships between law enforcement and schools, the faith community, and local community leaders to prevent and deter future criminal conduct.”