SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A grand jury charged a Savannah man with illegal gun charges. The man faces up to 15 years in prison.

Dontray Lewis, 43, was charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. If Lewis is adjudicated as an armed career criminal he could face lengthy jail time.

“Gun-carrying criminals like Dontray Lewis are a malignant source of much of the violent crime in our communities,” Estes said. “Their claim is always that they need to carry a gun ‘for protection,’ but with our law enforcement partners we will continue to work to protect our streets from gun-wielding felons.”

Savannah Police Officers found a loaded pistol and a other loaded magazines when he was stopped for traffic violations in May 2020. His prior felony convictions prevent him from legally possessing guns, Estes said.

“This conviction further underscores the importance of our partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Lenny Gunther, Savannah Police Chief. “The successful conviction of an individual in Savannah who was illegally in possession of a firearm is further evidence of the value of the recently approved partnership that will bring on an additional prosecutor to get those committing federal gun crimes off our streets.”

The investigation was carried out under the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). Officials describe PSN as an ongoing effort to reduce violent crime by targeting those who illegally possess guns.