Federal charges could put a Gulfport man behind bars after years of petty crime convictions

Bryan Anthony Hilliard
Bryan Anthony Hilliard

A man with felony convictions had different types of firearms while distributing cocaine and illegally selling firearms, a federal indictment says.

Bryan Anthony Hilliard, 27, of Gulfport, is held with no bond on a 15-count federal indictment.

Hilliard was armed with four different firearms while dealing cocaine from Oct. 26 through Nov. 23, 2015, and had two other firearms on Dec. 9, the indictment says.

He also is accused of illegally selling firearms during that time.

The four weapons he allegedly used are identified in court papers as a .357-caliber Ruger, a Mossberg 702 Plinkster semi-automatic rifle, a 9 mm Ruger LaserMax pistol and a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol.

On the last day he allegedly sold firearms, he was in possession of a 9 mm Springfield pistol and a .380-caliber Lorcin pistol, the indictment says.

Hilliard was convicted on state charges from arrests in 2007, 2008 and 2012, the Harrison County jail docket shows. The convictions were on auto burglary, possession of cocaine and residential burglary, respectively.

He is charged in the federal indictment with one count of engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, six counts of felon in possession of a firearm, and four counts each of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and using/carrying a firearm in the furtherance of drug trafficking crimes.

Gulfport police and Harrison County deputies have arrested him six times between 2012 and 2017, the jail docket shows. He was paroled on his state convictions in May, when a judge decided a Harrison County grand jury should review a state charge of felon in possession of a firearm.

Hilliard also has been accused of selling marijuana in 2015. Sheriff’s deputies arrested him in October 2016 and t case was sent to a grand jury. The status was not immediately available.

A federal grand jury indicted him Aug. 9. He was arrested and brought to U.S. District Court on Sept. 7.

Hilliard had been set for trial but attorneys have agreed to re-set it on a court calendar that starts March 5.

“Additional time is needed to explore the possibility of resolving this case prior to trial,” Assistant Federal Public Defender Ellen Allred wrote in a court filing.

That likely means plea negations are under way.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Annette Williams is prosecuting the case, court records show.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews