Clifton Petterman

MACON, Ga. — A 51-year-old Putnam County man will spend the next 15 years in federal prison after being sentenced last week on illegal drug and weapons charges in U.S. District Court in Macon.

Clifton Eugene Peterman, of Eatonton, was sentenced to the prison term last Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, according to a press release from the federal court.

U.S. District Judge Tilman E. “Tripp” Self accepted the guilty pleas and then imposed sentencing.

Peterman was sentenced to 120 months in prison on the weapons charge and 188 months on the drug conviction, court records show. The sentences are to run consecutively to a previous state sentence that he was serving in Putnam County.

“The defendant is a career criminal that clearly has no respect for the law and has shown no remorse for his past crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler in a prepared statement. “I want to thank the (Georgia) Department of Community Supervision, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI for their work in this case.”

Putnam County Sheriff Howard R. Sills also commented on the Peterman sentencing.

“We are truly grateful for the federal assistance in this case,” Sills said. “Clifton Peterman is a career criminal, a true recidivist, and a virtual crime machine. As the federal system doesn’t have the revolving door machine of meaningless parole and probation that the State of Georgia maintains, we know that Peterman will literally be locked away for the next 15 years and his incarceration for such a period will truly protect the public from this type of criminal.”

Before his sentencing, Peterman was on parole for a 2015 conviction in Putnam County Superior Court in Eatonton for Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act (VGCSA) for possession of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, according to court records.

It was during a search of Peterman’s residence that agents found the convicted drug dealer to be in violation of the terms of his parole.

The search yielded five weapons, including a semi-automatic rifle, a caliber-lever action rifle, two semi-automatic pistols, and a .38-caliber revolver.

Authorities also seized methamphetamine, which Peterman admitted to law enforcement officers that he was planning to sell, according to the press release.

Peterman has an extensive criminal record.

On Oct. 6, 2005, Peterman was convicted in Jones County Superior Court in Gray for VGCSA for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, theft by receiving stolen property, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a sawed-off shotgun.

Peterman also was convicted on March 21, 2006, in the U.S. Middle District of Georgia for the offense of possession of a sawed-off shotgun, court records show.

The investigation involving Peterman’s latest troubles with local, state and federal authorities was conducted as part of “Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). The program is the centerpiece of the U.S. Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.

“Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them,” according to the press release. “As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally-based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.”

The Peterman case also was part of what authorities called “Project Guardian, which is aimed at reducing gun violence and another means by which to enforce federal laws regarding firearms.

Project Guardian was initiated by the U.S. Attorney General Office in the fall of 2019.

The Peterman case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Howard.

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