Department of Justice

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Gulfport, Miss. – Today, three Gulf Coast men in unrelated cases pled guilty to illegally possessing firearms, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Dana Nichols, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”).
Javon Jamil Byrd, 23, of Gulfport, Jaquan Deshawn Carter, 21 of Gulfport, and Tevin Ladarius Mitchell, 20, of Moss Point, each individually entered a guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden for being an unlawful user of controlled substances in possession of a firearm. Although their cases are not related, each individual faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and 3 years of supervised release.

Sentencing for Byrd and Carter is set for October 11, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. Sentencing for Mitchell is set for October 12, 2018, at 10:00 a.m.

In Byrd’s case, the ATF utilized a Confidential Informant on June 13, 2015, to buy illegal street guns. Byrd sold the Informant a SKS 7.62 x 39mm rifle for $600. On November 26, 2016, Biloxi Police responded to a firearm discharge call and found several people around a car with an odor of burnt marijuana. Officers recovered marijuana, cocaine, a Ruger .380 and a stolen Sig Sauer 9mm. Byrd admitted purchasing the Sig Sauer for $125. In an interview Byrd admitted that he smoked marijuana regularly since the age of 11.

In Carter’s case, Gulfport Police received a complaint on September 6, 2015, of a person in a car flashing a gun. When officers stopped the car they smelled the odor of marijuana. Officers found bullets in the backseat and a .44 caliber revolver in the seat pocket with Carter sitting in the backseat. Carter admitted it was his gun which he had for protection. On September 14, 2015, Carter was again a passenger in a car with a strong odor of burnt marijuana that was stopped by Gulfport Police. Police found a .22 caliber handgun with an obliterated serial number in Carter’s pocket. In an interview Carter admitted that he smoked marijuana every day since the age of 9.

In Mitchell’s case, the Pascagoula Police Department pulled over a car with 4 people for a traffic violation. Once stopped and windows down, the Officer noticed a .223 caliber rifle with a large magazine laying in the rear floor board. When the Officer asked for proof of insurance, he noticed a handgun in the glove compartment. A narcotics dog alerted for the presence of narcotics in the car. A search yielded the rifle, a Glock pistol with 4 magazines, another handgun with a magazine and 2 ski masks. Mitchell admitted in an interview that he smoked marijuana regularly.

The Gulfport Police Department, Biloxi Police Department, Pascagoula Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating these cases. These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Annette Williams.



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