By Joe Johnson
An Athens gang member who is a convicted felon with a violent criminal history was sentenced Thursday to federal prison after admitting he was in illegal possession of a stolen firearm in a Project Safe Neighborhoods investigation.
Nitgel Rajiv Williams, 27, was sentenced to serve 68 months (5.6 years) in prison to run consecutive to a state sentence he is currently serving by Judge C. Ashley Royal in U.S. District Court in Athens.
In addition, Royal ordered that Williams serve three years of supervised release. Williams previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Violent criminals found in illegal possession of firearms will face federal prosecution,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “Working with our law enforcement partners under Project Safe Neighborhoods, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will do everything within our power to reduce violent crime in Athens and across the Middle District of Georgia by holding repeat, violent offenders accountable for continually disregarding the law.”
According to Clarke County Superior Court records, Williams and another member of the NBA (Never Broke Again) street gang were indicted in December 2014 for shooting at a car that was occupied by four people, none of whom was injured.
As part of a negotiated agreement, Williams pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault, and three additional counts of that offense were dismissed along with a charge of violating the state Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.
In accordance with the plea deal, Williams was sentenced to the up to 220 days in a Probation Detention Center, and 12 years on probation, court records show.
His most recent arrest was on Feb. 12, 2020 when a car Williams was driving on the Athens Perimeter was pulled over by an Athens-Clarke County police officer for failing to maintain lane and driving 5-10 mph under the speed limit, indicators that the driver was impaired.
According to reports, the officer saw Williams trying to hide a cut straw, which is commonly used to ingest illegal narcotics, and during a search of the vehicle, the officer located cocaine, heroin and a stolen .45 caliber pistol.
All charges that resulted from the traffic stop were dismissed on April 23 of this year due to Williams being prosecuted for the gun charge in federal court.
The case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the U.S. Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
The case was investigated by the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, the Northeast Georgia Regional Drug Task Force and the Athens-Clarke police Gang Unit.