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Career felon sent to federal prison on ammo charges

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

ATLANTA — A 17-time felon serving a state term was sentenced Monday to 16 years in federal prison on ammunitions charges, said officials.

Keith Wade, 43, of College Park has been in state prison since March 2011 for attempted armed robbery in Fulton County, according to Georgia Department of Corrections records. He has been in and out of Georgia prisons 10 times from 1987 to 2011, according to records.

Federal officials said Wade was convicted Sept. 27 of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said Wade has been victimizing Georgia residents for more than 20 years.

“This 17-time felon has been victimizing the citizens of Georgia for over 20 years, committing crime after crime, many of which involved firearms,” said Yates. “Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the hands of convicted felons like the defendant threatens the safety of law enforcement and the citizens of Georgia.”

Wade's mugshot shows he has a tattoo of the Georgia statute code for murder, 16-5-1, on the front of his neck. No record could be found indicating Wade had been convicted of murder in Georgia.

U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Christopher Shaefer said Wade displayed a disregard for human life.

“The criminal history of the defendant shows a complete and utter disregard for the lives of others as well as for their personal pursuits,” he said. “As an agency and unified law enforcement community, we will not tolerate armed violent felons continually terrorizing and reducing the quality of life in the neighborhoods where we live, work and play.”

Yates said Wade was out of prison when his parole officer received a call from a person who wanted to remain anonymous. The caller said the defendant had threatened him and his girlfriend, who previously dated Wade. The caller told the officer that Wade had made threatening phone calls, sent threatening text messages and had driven past the caller’s house several times. The caller forwarded one of the text messages, which included a picture of the defendant holding an assault rifle.

On Dec. 29, 2010, the officer and special agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted a search of Wade's residence in College Park. During the search, officers found two fully-loaded assault rifle magazines containing 60 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition and a box containing 24 rounds of 9 mm ammunition. Because he was a convicted felon, Wade was prohibited from possessing ammunition, said Yates.

Prior to Wade’s December 2010 arrest, he had been convicted of at least 17 felonies, including drug-related convictions, theft and several violent felonies, she said. The defendant’s violent felony convictions include felony obstruction of law enforcement, battery and attempted armed robbery. 

Wade was sentenced Monday to 16 years and three months in federal prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. Because this conviction was rendered after Wade sustained three prior violent felonies, the law required a mandatory minimum confinement period of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, said Yates.

This case was investigated by special agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie J. Abrams prosecuted the case.