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Richmond County man convicted at trial for trafficking heroin, illegally possessing a firearm

A Richmond County man has been convicted at trial on drug trafficking and gun possession charges.

Kelvin Laron Howard, 68, of Augusta, was convicted by a U.S. District Court jury after a two-day trial on charges of Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime; and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, said Jill E. Steinberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The conviction subjects Howard to a statutory penalty of up to 20 years in prison on the drug charge, with an additional mandatory minimum of five years in prison for gun possession in conjunction with drug trafficking. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Kelvin Howard viewed Augusta as a wide-open market where he could profit from illegal drugs,” said U.S. Attorney Steinberg. “Working with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to identify and shut down those who would endanger our communities with illicit drugs and illegal guns.”

The jury deliberated for less than an hour before finding Howard guilty on all charges brought in an indictment filed in U.S. District Court in May 2020. As described in court documents and testimony, the charges stemmed from an investigation by the Richmond Count Sheriff’s Office that identified Howard as a heroin distributor in the Augusta area. During a search of Howard’s apartment in August 2019, investigators found enough heroin for more than 700 individual doses, along with drug scales and packaging materials, nearly $1,000 in cash and a loaded semiautomatic pistol.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Randal Hall will schedule a sentencing hearing for Howard after U.S. Probation Services completes a presentence investigation.

The case was investigated by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patricia G. Rhodes and Alex M. Hamner.

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