Violent Career Offender Sentenced to 151 Months in Prison

MACON, Ga. – A career offender with a violent criminal history was sentenced to serve more than 12 years in federal prison resulting from his arrest for distributing illegal narcotics while carrying a loaded semi-automatic weapon in Macon.

Joseph Ballard, 47, of Macon, was sentenced to serve 151 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Tilman “Tripp” Self on Nov. 4, after he previously pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute heroin. There is no parole in the federal system. Ballard has prior felony convictions for voluntary manslaughter, aggravated stalking, terroristic threats and drug distribution in Bibb County, Georgia, Superior Court.

“Ballard has a long and violent criminal history in the Macon community. He is now being held accountable for choosing to illegally carry a loaded semi-automatic weapon while pushing the deadliest narcotics into our community,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “I want to thank the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies who work around-the-clock with us to ensure the most violent, repeat offenders in the Middle District of Georgia are held responsible for their continued criminal activity.”

According to court documents, Ballard was pulled over for a seatbelt violation while driving in Macon on March 1, 2018 by the Georgia State Patrol (GSP). The troopers saw drugs by Ballard’s feet and during a search, found a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol loaded with 13 rounds of ammunition under the driver’s seat, as well as quantities of heroin, methamphetamine, a variety of illegal drugs that Ballard admitted he was going to sell, along with drug paraphernalia and cash.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Georgia Department of Public Safety, Georgia State Patrol (GSP), and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Keyes prosecuted the case for the Government.

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