Columbus man wanted on multiple warrants pleads guilty to stolen gun charge

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 12:44 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A Columbus resident pleaded guilty to possessing a stolen firearm, after leading a state trooper on a high-speed chase, while he was wanted on multiple state warrants.

35 year-old-man Carlos Mathis, pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen firearm before U.S. District Judge Clay Land on May 23.

According to court documents, at approximately 1:00 a.m. on Oct. 2, 2022, a Georgia Department of Public Safety officer attempted to pull over a vehicle traveling 112 mph on I-185 in Muscogee County. The vehicle increased its speed, made improper lane changes, and abruptly exited the interstate at Manchester Expressway, narrowly missing another vehicle.

Officials say the fleeing vehicle careened out of control, and stuck a concrete median before spinning around and traveling the wrong way (going west in the eastbound lanes) down Manchester Expressway towards the I-185 exit ramp. To prevent a catastrophic collision, the trooper employed a pit maneuver to disable the vehicle. The vehicle came to a stop in the roadway and the driver, Mathis, fled from the vehicle into a wooded area and was quickly apprehended without further incident.

A stolen and loaded Sig Sauer 9mm pistol was found on the driver’s side floorboard. A backpack was located behind the passenger seat, which contained three large bags of marijuana, and a digital scale with residue on it. Mathis was wanted on several outstanding warrants at the time. He has multiple state felony convictions in Georgia including:

  • criminal attempt to commit a felony
  • giving an inmate a prohibited item without authorization
  • burglary and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute

It is illegal for a convicted felon to possess a firearm.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office will hold armed, repeat, and violent offenders accountable when they have stolen guns, or illegally possess firearms,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “In collaboration with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to use every resource available to improve community safety.”

“Criminals must understand that there are serious repercussions for the illegal possession of firearms. ATF and our law enforcement partners will contribute all necessary time, and effort to ensure criminals are brought to justice,” said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Beau Kolodka.

Mathis faces a maximum of ten years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and a maximum $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 8. There is no parole in the federal system.

The case was investigated by the Georgia Department of Safety, the Columbus Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).