AUGUSTA, GA: A gang member and self-styled rapper with a felony criminal record has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison for illegally possessing a gun.
Antonio Dondrell Bell, 29, of Grovetown, Ga., was sentenced to 84 months in prison by U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Randal Hall after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. After completion of his prison term, Bell will be required to serve three years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Antonio Bell knew that as a convicted felon he is not allowed to carry firearms, yet he chose not only to violate the law but to brazenly glorify gun possession in his videos posted online,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “Now, inside a prison, he might have a live audience – but he won’t be able to flash firearms in his performances.”
According to court documents and information shared in court, Bell was arrested in Dec.7, 2018, after a traffic stop in Augusta by Richmond County sheriff’s deputies who found a loaded Ruger 9mm handgun with high-capacity magazine under the driver’s seat of the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Bell was driving.
In online videos in which he performs under the name “Yayo,” Bell is seen holding a firearm while also flashing large stacks of cash. He claimed the videos were staged for his budding music career, while also admitting that he was a member of the 5-9 Brims, a subset of the violent Bloods criminal street gang. Bell faces additional state charges, including indictments on multiple counts of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.
Bell has previous felony convictions, which make it illegal for him to possess a firearm.
“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) considers Richmond County Sheriff’s Office a critical partner in its long-term mission of removing criminals and gangs from our communities in the Augusta area,” said Beau Kolodka, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the ATF.