The following indictments were received from Barry L. Paschal Public Affairs Officer from the Office of the United States Attorney - Southern District of Georgia. Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Man who fired on law enforcement helicopter sentenced to federal prison
AUGUSTA, GA: A Blythe man who shot a helicopter being used in support of a law enforcement operation has been sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison, according to Barry L. Paschal Public Affairs Officer from the Office of the United States Attorney - Southern District of Georgia.
Terry Kielisch, 56, was sentenced to 183 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen on two counts of Assaulting a Person Assisting an Officer of the United States, and one count of Use of a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. After completion of his prison term, Kielisch will serve five years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.
Kielisch reportedly aimed and fired a high-powered rifle at a police helicopter. He admitted he used a .308 caliber rifle to fire two shots at a Georgia State Patrol helicopter piloted by a GSP trooper, with a Richmond County Sheriff’s Office investigator as a passenger, on March 12, 2019.
The aircraft was providing support for Operation Gunsmoke, searching for fugitives accused of drug trafficking and illegal firearms possession in Georgia and South Carolina, and coordinated by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Kielisch was not a target in the operation, but told investigators he fired at the helicopter because he didn’t like it flying near his home. Bullets struck the helicopter near its fuel lines, and Judge Bowen ordered Kielisch to pay $54,960 in restitution for the resulting damage.
The pilot was able to land the aircraft safely, and neither he nor the passenger were injured.
The case was investigated by the ATF, the Georgia State Patrol and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, and was prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hank Syms Jr.
Ex-correctional officer sentenced to federal prison for accepting bribes
WAYCROSS, GA: A former correctional officer has been sentenced to federal prison for accepting bribes in return for smuggling contraband to an inmate.
Micheal Eaddy, 25, of Blackshear, Ga., was sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of Bribery. At the time of the offense, Eaddy was a correctional officer at D. Ray James Correctional Facility, a private prison operated under federal contract in Folkston, Ga. After completion of his prison term, Eaddy must serve three years of supervised release.
In his guilty plea, Eaddy admitted accepting a bribe of $246.25 from inmate Jean Civil, 25, of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in return for smuggling cigarettes into the prison. Investigators discovered the activity after seizing a contraband phone from Civil and reading electronic conversations between Civil and Eaddy.
After pleading guilty to Possession of Contraband, Civil received one month added to his current sentence of 78 months for Conspiracy to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Cocaine.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcela C. Mateo.
Meth-trafficking gang member sentenced to federal prison
WAYCROSS, GA: An admitted methamphetamine trafficker and criminal street gang member has been sentenced to more than 17 years in federal prison.
Christopher Wells, a/k/a “Jugg,” 32, of Waycross, was sentenced to 210 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
After completion of his prison term, Wells will be required to serve five years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.
A leader in the “G-Shine” sect of the notorious Bloods criminal street gang, Wells was arrested in August 2017 as part of an FBI operation targeting a methamphetamine-trafficking operation in the Waycross area and beyond. He was named in a 47-count indictment in 2017 along with 34 other defendants targeted in the wide-ranging operation. Two of the defendants are awaiting sentencing; the remaining defendants all pled guilty, and have been sentenced to an average of 88 months in prison. Wells’ criminal record started at age 15 and includes at least 25 arrests, with eight felony convictions as an adult.
The case was investigated under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), the premier U.S. Department of Justice program to dismantle multi-jurisdictional drug trafficking organizations. It was investigated by the FBI, the Coastal Georgia Violent Gang Task Force, the Ware County Sheriff’s Office, the Waycross Police Department, the Glynn County Police Department, and the Brunswick Police Department, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney and OCDETF Coordinator Marcela C. Mateo and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kirkland.
Paroled murderer from New York sentenced for robbing Brunswick bank
BRUNSWICK, GA: A New York man will spend the next six and half years in federal prison for an October 2019 bank robbery.
Lionel Valenzuela, 55, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to 78 months in prison on one count of Bank Robbery. After completion of his sentence, Valenzuela must serve three years of supervised release.
In pleading guilty to the crime, Valenzuela admitted robbing the Ameris Bank at 3440 Cypress Road in Brunswick on Oct. 30, 2019. He threatened the clerk by saying he had a firearm and demanding money, and then ran from the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash. He was quickly captured by Brunswick Police officers after a private citizen identified him. The cash from the robbery was recovered, but no weapon was found.
Valenzuela was on lifetime parole from New York State at the time of his arrest after having been released from a prison sentence for second-degree murder.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Brunswick Police Department, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Kirkland and Joshua Bearden.