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U.S. Attorneys for the Western and Middle districts of Tennessee this week announced that federal officials have sentenced four ex-convicts in separate cases for possessing firearms.

Federal law prohibits ex-convicts from owning firearms.

 Jason Smith

Authorities have sentenced Jason Smith, 36, to 60 months in federal prison for possessing a firearm to distribute drugs.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced the sentence in a press release this week.

“According to information presented in court, on November 5, 2017, homicide officers followed up on a Crime Stoppers tip regarding a Memphis Police Department homicide investigation involving Jason Smith,” according to the press release.

“Officers went to a residence on Douglas Avenue where they saw Smith standing by and bending down near the rear passenger side of a silver Volvo. Smith then walked away from the officers who saw him toss something small behind a nearby house. Officers detained Smith and recovered a gun from under the vehicle where they had observed him bend down. A bag with 5.6 grams of crack was located which Smith had thrown and large amounts of cash from his pockets. Smith told officers that the gun belonged to his girlfriend but she was not there, and that he threw marijuana, not crack.”

Later, homicide officers interviewed Smith’s girlfriend who said the gun was hers, but she struggled to describe the weapon. The girlfriend could not tell officers the type or caliber of gun. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted an interstate nexus search on the multi-caliber Diamondback pistol and verified someone manufactured the firearm outside Tennessee, the press release said.

Prior to the November 2017 arrest, authorities had convicted the defendant of felony drug and gun offenses.

“On September 26, 2019, a federal grand jury in Memphis indicted Smith for possession for a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; possession of a firearm after previously being convicted of a felony; and possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute,” the press release said.

“On July 28, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Sheryl H. Lipman sentenced Smith to 60 months in federal prison followed by 3 years supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.”

Davien Stokes

Court officials have sentenced Davien Stokes, 39, a convicted felon in Horn Lake, Mississippi, to 210 months in federal prison for possessing a firearm.

This, according to a press release that court officials released this week.

On January 22, 2018, Memphis Police responded to a request for a welfare check at a local business complex on Union Avenue in Memphis. Officers arrived to find a 2013 red Ford Focus obstructing the entrance way of the business with keys in the ignition and the engine was idle, the press release said.

The driver, Davien Stokes, was apparently unconscious.

“Eventually, Stokes began to move around in the seat. As he did so, officers observed an open container of alcohol on the front passenger seat. Stokes attempted to grab something and told officers he was reaching for his mouthwash,” according to the press release.

“Officers were able to see a Ruger 9mm pistol in the cup holder. Also, 23 live rounds of 9mm ammunition and one spent shell casing were found in the vehicle. The gun was loaded with two live rounds of ammunition in the magazine. Officers learned that Stokes’ drivers’ license had been revoked since 2015.”

Stokes has three prior violent felony convictions for robberies in 1999, 2005, and 2010. At sentencing, officials determined Stokes was an armed career criminal, which carries a 15 year mandatory minimum prison sentence.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Mark S. Norris sentenced Stokes to 210 months in federal prison followed by three years supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

Darius Washington

Darius Washington, 24, was sentenced to 72 months in federal prison for possessing a firearm after having been previously been convicted of misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, according to a press release.

According to the information presented in court, on December 9, 2017, detectives conducted a traffic stop on Watkins Avenue in the Family Dollar parking lot. When the car pulled into the parking lot, the front right passenger, later identified as Darius Washington, jumped out of the vehicle and ran inside the store, the press release said.

Detectives observed Washington casually walk back towards the front of the store. After reviewing the in-store video footage, law enforcement observed Washington hide a Beretta .40 caliber pistol in one of the food aisles. The gun was loaded with 13 rounds in the magazine and 1 round in the chamber, according to the press release.

“On June 5, 2019, during a physical altercation with a man, Washington pulled out a semi-automatic pistol and shot the man in the ear. Visibly injured, the victim fled the scene. Washington then reached inside the victim’s car and stole a Smith and Wesson .40 caliber pistol he had been carrying,” the press release said.

“Washington’s prior criminal history consisted of four misdemeanor convictions, including two convictions for domestic violence with bodily harm. Based upon his domestic violence convictions, Washington was unlawfully in possession of all three firearms pursuant to federal law. Washington had no felony convictions, until today.”

On July 29, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Sheryl H. Lipman sentenced Washington to 72 months in federal prison followed by three years supervised release, according to the press release.

Brandon Desean Wells

Authorities have sentenced a Nashville man arrested during a 2017 traffic stop to 15 years in federal prison.

This, according to a press release.

Brandon Desean Wells, 33, received the mandatory minimum sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm and being qualified as an Armed Career Criminal, which subjected him to a mandatory sentence enhancement.

Metropolitan Nashville Police Department arrested Wells on April 20, 2017, after he was a passenger in a vehicle stopped for traffic violations, according to the press release.

“Wells was observed making furtive movements and after exiting the vehicle, he refused to comply with officer’s commands to place his hands behind his back.  After physically gaining compliance and handcuffing Wells, the officers found a loaded semi-automatic pistol in his waistband.  Wells was also in possession of hydrocodone pills and drug trafficking paraphernalia and told the officers he was under the influence of cocaine and other drugs,” the press release said.

“Wells was indicted by a federal grand jury in April 2018 and pleaded guilty in January of this year.  Well’s criminal record dates back to his teenage years and includes multiple convictions for armed robbery, drug trafficking and firearm offenses, including a prior six-year federal prison sentence for illegal firearms possession for an offense that occurred only weeks after being placed on probation in state court.”

– – –

Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]







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Republican Senator: It Is Past Time To Start a Transition for Biden

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Wisconsin Presidential Recount in 4th Day, With Few Changes

By SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin's partial presidential recount entered its fourth day Monday, with very few changes in vote totals as President Donald Trump's attorneys appeared to be focused on a legal challenge seeking to toss tens of thousands of ballots, including the one cast by an attorney for the campaign.

Democrat Joe Biden won the state by about 20,600 votes and his margin in Milwaukee and Dane counties was about 2-to-1. Those are the only counties where Trump paid to have a recount.

Trump's attorneys have objected to counting any absentee ballots where voters identified themselves as “indefinitely confined;” where information on the certification envelope is in two different ink colors, indicating a poll worker may have helped complete it; and where there is not a separate written record for it having been requested, including all in-person absentee ballots.

All of those ballots were being counted during the recount, but could be targeted as part of a Trump legal challenge.

Discarding ballots as requested by Trump's campaign would result in Trump’s Wisconsin’s attorney, Jim Troupis, having his ballot not count, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Troupis, a former Dane County judge, voted early using the state’s in-person absentee option along with his wife. They were both listed on exhibits Troupis presented to the Dane County Board of Canvassers on Sunday that the Trump campaign argued had voted illegally.

Troupis did not immediately respond to a text message Monday seeking comment.

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said Monday that the recount was nearly 25% done in that county, with nearly 83,000 ballots out of more than 345,000 cast having been recounted. Those recounted so far in both counties showed changes of only a handful of votes from what was reported on election night.

“It seems to be picking up,” McDonell said of the recount. “We're a little bit behind scheduled but not a lot behind schedule.”

Milwaukee County had hoped to be done by Wednesday, but due to delays caused by objections raised by Trump supporters the work is expected to go closer to the Dec. 1 deadline for completion.


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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tags: Wisconsin, Associated Press

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