Ex-deputy in Georgia pleads guilty in federal firearms case

MACON, Ga. (AP) — A former Georgia deputy has pleaded guilty to possessing unregistered firearms, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Cody Richard Griggers, 28, of Montrose, Georgia, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of possession of an unregistered firearm before U.S. District Judge Tilman Self, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia said in a news release.

“This former law enforcement officer knew that he was breaking the law when he chose to possess a cache of unregistered weapons, silencers and a machine gun, keeping many of them in his duty vehicle. Coupled with his violent racially motivated extreme statements, the defendant has lost the privilege permanently of wearing the blue,” Acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said.

Griggers, who was detained at a pretrial hearing and remains in custody, faces up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing is set for July 6.

As part of a California investigation into a man making violent political statements on social media, FBI agents discovered a group text with Griggers, who worked for the Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Office for just over a year, Wilkinson Sheriff Richard Chatman said. He was fired last November.

In the group text, Griggers — who is white — said he was manufacturing and acquiring illegal firearms, explosives and suppressors. He also expressed viewpoints consistent with racially motivated violent extremism, including the use of racial slurs, slurs against homosexuals and making frequent positive references to the Nazi holocaust, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

On Nov. 19, agents searched Griggers’ home and his patrol vehicle. Inside his patrol vehicle, officers found multiple firearms, including a machine gun with an obliterated serial number, according to authorities. The machine gun was not issued to the defendant, and he was not allowed to have the weapon in his law enforcement car, authorities said.

In all, authorities said they found 11 illegal firearms, including an unregistered short barrel shotgun in his home.

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