ATLANTA – A former deputy with the Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Office has pleaded guilty to possessing unregistered firearms following an FBI-led investigation into a violent extremist group.

Cody Richard Griggers, 28, of Montrose pleaded guilty to one count of possession of an unregistered firearm Monday in U.S. District Court in Macon. Griggers faces a maximum of 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release and a maximum fine of $250,000.

“This former law enforcement officer knew that he was breaking the law when he chose to possess a cache of unregistered weapons,” Acting U.S. Attorney Peter Leary said. “Coupled with his violent racially motivated extreme statements, the defendant has lost the privilege permanently of wearing the blue.”

As part of a California investigation into a man making violent political statements on social media, FBI agents discovered a group text with Griggers. In the text, he indicated that he was manufacturing and acquiring illegal firearms, explosives and suppressors.

Griggers also expressed viewpoints consistent with racially motivated violent extremism, including the use of racial slurs, slurs against homosexuals and making frequent positive references to the Nazi holocaust.

Agents executed a search warrant at Griggers’ home last November and searched his duty vehicle. They found multiple firearms inside the vehicle, including a machine gun with an obliterated serial number.

The machine gun had not been issued to Griggers, and he was not allowed to have the weapon in his law enforcement car.

An unregistered short-barrel shotgun was found in Griggers’ home. In all, between his residence and duty vehicle, officers found 11 illegal firearms.

“All law enforcement officers swear an oath to uphold the law and protect each and every citizen they serve,” said Chris Hacker, special agent in Charge of the FBI’s Atlanta office. “Griggers clearly violated his oath with his egregious actions and has no place in law enforcement.”   

The FBI worked with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and with the Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Office in investigating the case.

Griggers is scheduled to be sentenced on July 6. He was detained at his pretrial hearing and remains in custody.