Joseph Poss, 58, was arrested when a multi-agency search of his home on William Bobo Drive turned up 46 weapons and three military-grade pyrotechnic devices, said Lt. Jay Baker, spokesman for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
Agents with Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad, which is made up of officers around the county, originally went to Poss’ home Wednesday to investigate an anonymous tip that he had drugs, police said.
CMANS Commander Phil Price said no drugs were found in the home, but that agents did find a large “cache” of guns.
According to Baker, at least eight of the dozens of weapons taken from Poss’ house were thought to be fully-automatic.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation also responded to take the pyrotechnic devices, which Price said were smoke grenades and flares.
During the search, Price said the Canton man was cooperative with agents and told them he was just a gun collector.
“He may have in fact been collecting them,” Price said. “But because he’s a convicted felon, that’s illegal.”
The suspect’s felony charge stems from an armed robbery arrest more than 30 years ago in 1978, Price said.
Since 1978, Price said he didn’t believe Poss had been in any trouble.
There is also no evidence to suggest that he collected the guns for any violent or “deep, dark” purpose, Price said.
“We have no motivation to suspect that he had them for other than what he said,” the commander said. “I don’t know what his motivation was.”
The discovery of the large collection of guns was, however, abnormal, Price said, as was the fact that some of the guns appeared to have been altered illegally.
“I would say most gun collectors would not cut down a weapon with hacksaw if they were truly collecting,” he said. “Maybe he is just a victim of circumstance. That’s for the judge
Poss was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of fully automatic weapons and possession of weapons altered to an illegal length, Baker said.
He was released from the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center on $33,600 bond Thursday morning.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has been consulted to see if other charges may be brought in the investigation, Baker said.