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Press Release

Bulls Gap Man Sentenced to 235 Months for Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Tennessee

Greeneville, Tenn. – On August 23, 2021, Harold Vernon Smith, currently of Bulls Gap, Tennessee, was sentenced to serve 235 months in prison by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Greeneville. In March of 2021, Smith was convicted after a jury trial of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition in violation of U.S.C. §92(g)(1).

According to the trial testimony, on May 11, 2018, the Greene County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation related to Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Personal Injury. Witnesses described the vehicle involved, and, a short time later, a Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office deputy saw a car matching the description in a nearby area.  After a pursuit, law enforcement located the car, which was abandoned.  The investigation identified Smith as the suspect. On May 13, 2018, the Greene County Sheriff’s Office charged Smith with filing a false report related to the May 11, 2018, incident.  On June 21, 2018, the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and the Third Judicial Drug and Violent Crime Task Force arrested Smith in a wooded area on Sunrise Church Road, near Interstate 81 and Highway 11E/W, off Andrew Johnson Highway.  At the time of his arrest, Smith was armed with a loaded revolver. A bag that he owned was located nearby and contained his personal items as well as a box of ammunition for the revolver.

Judge Greer determined that Smith was an Armed Career Criminal, subject to a mandatory minimum of 180 months, up to life imprisonment. Smith was sentenced to 235 months in prison followed by three years on supervised release.    

Acting U.S. Attorney Trey Hamilton of the Eastern District of Tennessee; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives made the announcement.

The criminal indictment was the result of an investigation by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, the Third Judicial Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  This investigation was led by ATF Special Agent Bryan Williams.

Assistant United States Attorneys B. Todd Martin and Emily Swecker represented the United States.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a comprehensive national strategy that creates local partnerships with law enforcement agencies to effectively enforce existing gun laws. It provides more options to prosecutors, allowing them to utilize local, state, and federal laws to ensure that criminals who commit gun crime face tough sentences. PSN gives each federal district the flexibility it needs to focus on individual challenges that a specific community faces. 



CONTACT: Rachelle Barnes
Public Affairs Officer

Updated January 7, 2022

Project Safe Neighborhoods