Augusta defendants face federal charges in separate cases

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Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 11:16 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Seven Augusta defendants are facing federal charges in separate indictments by a grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia.

The cases are investigated as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods in collaboration with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to reduce violent crime with measures that include targeting convicted felons who carry guns.

“Convicted felons are prohibited from possessing guns, and with our law enforcement partners we are committed to keeping our communities safe from violent crime by holding accountable those who would violate the law,” said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

Augusta defendants named in federal indictments from the August 2022 term include:

  • Darnell Dwight Brown, 30, and Corii Arkheem Bussey, 31, both of Augusta, were charged with Assaulting, Resisting or Impeding Certain Officers or Employees, and Using, Carrying or Possessing a Firearm During and In Relation to a Crime of Violence. The case involves a December 9, 2021, shootout in which a U.S. Postal Service vehicle was struck by multiple bullets. The mail carrier who was inside the vehicle was not injured.
  • Marshall Lee Cushman, 39, of Augusta, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Christopher Fitzgerald Jones, 35, of Augusta, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Christopher David Baskett, 46, of Augusta, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Rondell Smith, “Rondal Smith,” 27, of Hephzibah, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon

Criminal indictments contain only charges, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

An additional defendant has been adjudicated on federal charges:

  • Vesenta Cornelius Watson, 46, of Augusta, was sentenced to 60 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number. Watson sped away from an attempted Richmond County Sheriff’s Office traffic stop in November 2021 and threw a duffel bag from the window of his vehicle. After taking Watson into custody, deputies retrieved the bag and found a pistol and illegal drugs inside.

Agencies investigating these cases include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearm and Explosives (ATF), the FBI, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Savannah Police Department, and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

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