Richmond County Man Convicted on Drug Trafficking and Gun Charges

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Augusta, GA – Kelvin Laron Howard, a 68-year-old resident of Augusta, has been found guilty by a U.S. District Court jury on drug trafficking and gun possession charges after a two-day trial. The verdict was announced by Jill E. Steinberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Howard’s conviction includes 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.

The statutory penalty for the drug charge is up to 20 years in prison, and Howard faces an additional mandatory minimum of five years in prison for possessing a firearm in connection with drug trafficking. In the federal system, there is no parole.

According to court documents and testimony, an investigation by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office revealed Howard’s involvement as a heroin distributor in the Augusta area. In August 2019, during a search of Howard’s apartment, investigators discovered a significant quantity of heroin, equivalent to more than 700 individual doses. They also found drug scales, packaging materials, nearly $1,000 in cash, and a loaded semiautomatic pistol.

The jury deliberated for less than an hour before delivering a guilty verdict on all charges outlined in the May 2020 indictment. U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Randal Hall will schedule a sentencing hearing for Howard once U.S. Probation Services completes a presentence investigation.

The investigation was conducted by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case is being prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patricia G. Rhodes and L. Alexander Hamner.

Indictments contain charges, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

Barry L. Paschal, Public Affairs Officer: 912-652-4422