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Georgia man charged with illegally possessing weapons, including pipe bomb

A Grovetown man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that include possession of a pipe bomb.

As a convicted felon, the defendant is prohibited from possessing guns

A Grovetown man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that include possession of a pipe bomb.

James Richard Grates II, 36, is charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and Possession of an Unregistered Firearm, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The charges carry a possible penalty of up to 10 years in prison, followed by a period of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

Personnel from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were called to Grates’ mobile home in April 2019 after being alerted about possible unsafe conditions in the residence. Investigators searched the property and seized homemade explosives made from pipe and black powder, along with a 12-gauge shotgun.

“This cases involves illegally possessed firearms and explosives in the hands of convicted felon,” said Beau Kolodka, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the ATF. “It demonstrates the cooperation that exists between ATF, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and Richmond County Sheriff’s Office to keep the residents of these counties safe.”

Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case is being investigated by the ATF, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alejandro V. Pascual IV.

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