Gang member who shot at FBI agent convicted on assault, drug charges

COLUMBUS –- A Columbus resident and member of a criminal street gang who — along with a co-defendant — shot multiple rounds at an FBI agent in Columbus last year was found guilty of assault on a federal officer along with additional charges for armed drug trafficking by a federal jury.

Joshuia Johnathon Luke Brown, aka “Black,” 25, was found guilty of one count of forcible assault on a federal officer with a deadly weapon, one count of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, one count of distribution of methamphetamine, one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, three counts of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime following a trial before U.S. District Judge Clay Land.

Co-defendant Jarvis Smith, 28, pleaded guilty to one count of forcible assault on a federal law enforcement officer, one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and one count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person on Aug. 9. Smith is facing a maximum sentence of life in prison. Smith’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 19. Neither Smith nor Brown is eligible for parole.

“As if out of a movie, Joshuia Brown and Jarvis Smith stepped out of their car in the middle of a Columbus street and brazenly shot at an FBI agent, narrowly missing the agent and shooting through a citizen’s home,” U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said. “This type of lawlessness cannot be tolerated. Law enforcement at every level is putting their lives on the line in a collaborative effort to reduce violence and hold the most dangerous individuals in our communities accountable for their criminal actions.”

“Anyone who assaults a law enforcement officer is dangerous and an extreme threat to public safety,” Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta Keri Farley said. “Stopping violent criminals, like Brown, is one of the most important things we can do to protect our communities. Thankfully, no one — including our Special Agent — was injured during Brown’s act of terror. Columbus is a safer community with him off the streets.”

According to facts presented in court, federal agents were surveilling Brown and Smith in July 2022 as part of a larger and ongoing investigation into armed drug trafficking in the Columbus community. Through surveillance, agents observed a drug transaction involving Smith and Brown on July 28, 2022, in the vicinity of 1049 Winston Road in Columbus. At 4:35 p.m., Smith departed the scene in his car with Brown.

An FBI agent conducted mobile surveillance as Smith traveled down Wade Street, turning south on Sheridan Avenue. Smith, who was driving, stopped his car in the middle of the road and he and Brown, who was a passenger, stepped outside of the car with weapons pointed in the agent’s direction and fired multiple rounds at the agent’s car, hitting the passenger door, the roof and the rear bumper of the FBI vehicle. One round traveled through the back of the FBI agent’s passenger seat, hitting a small bag on the front passenger side. Another round entered a private residence’s living room window, shattering a painting on the wall.

The FBI agent was not injured during the shooting.

FBI and Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office units attempted to stop Smith’s car; Smith and Brown were able to elude law enforcement in a lengthy pursuit by car and on foot. Smith was taken into custody on July 28. After a manhunt that last several days, Brown turned himself in on Aug. 10. A bag dropped by Brown during the pursuit contained a fully loaded Glock 19X handgun with an extended magazine. Two bullets recovered from the FBI agent’s vehicle matched the Glock 19X found inside Brown’s discarded bag.

Law enforcement recovered a camo backpack dropped by Smith during the pursuit that held a fully loaded Glock pistol with an extended magazine, a fully loaded .380 semi-automatic pistol and ammunition. Also, several baggies containing methamphetamine, pills and other illegal drugs were found inside Smith’s backpack. Both the Glock 19X and the Glock pistol were modified to operate as machine guns.

Brown is a member of U.S. World, a hybrid criminal street gang based out of Columbus that is affiliated with other national criminal gangs. Smith is a confirmed member of the Bloods criminal street gang and has a prior conviction of aggravated assault, burglary and robbery in Muscogee County Superior Court. 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 Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. It was investigated by the FBI and the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from multiple agencies including the DEA, the Columbus Police Department, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the Phenix City Police Department and the Russell County, Ala., Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Williams and Crawford Seals are prosecuting the case for the government.