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Press Release

Ricco Saine Sentenced To 262 Months For Firearms Offense

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

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – On June 24, 2024, Ricco Lashawn Saine, 44, currently of Kingsport, Tennessee, formerly of Memphis, Tennessee, was sentenced to 262 months by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, United States District Judge, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Greeneville.  Following his incarceration, he will be on supervision for five years. 

Ricco Saine was found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(1) by a federal jury on November 8, 2023.  During the sentencing hearing, Judge Greer determined that Ricco Saine was an Armed Career Criminal.  His spouse and co-defendant, Tonya Rae Saine, was previously sentenced to 21 months incarceration and a term of three years supervised release. 

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, on August 27, 2021, an officer with the Kingsport Police Department observed Ricco Saine standing near his vehicle at the office of the Westside Inn in Kingsport, Tennessee.  After a police canine alerted on the vehicle, officers conducted a search of the vehicle and recovered a loaded firearm inside a bag on the passenger seat.  The bag also contained Ricco Saine’s Tennessee identification card.  Agents subsequently learned of firearms purchased by Tonya Saine from a federal firearm licensee (“FFL”) in Sevierville.  Store surveillance video was obtained which showed Ricco Saine and Tonya Saine shopping for firearms at the gun counter in October 2021. After consultation with Ricco Saine, Tonya Saine ultimately selected a pistol and a laser-dot sight for the pistol, an AR15-style rifle, and ammunition.  Tonya Saine, who was not prohibited from purchasing a firearm, completed the required paperwork using her information and paid for the items.  Ricco Saine was observed carrying the AR15 box away from the store.  

Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”) eventually recovered a pistol with a laser sight from Tonya Saine.  Law enforcement also recovered a text message from a cell phone that Tonya Saine sent Ricco Saine after the purchase of the firearms that said, “I’ve got your gun and stuff in the house.” A cooperating witness testified that they saw Ricco Saine with the pistol and were able to recognize the firearm because of the attached laser aiming device and distinctive markings on the firearm.

U.S. Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III of the Eastern District of Tennessee, and ATF Special Agent in Charge Marcus S. Watson made the announcement.

The criminal indictment was the result of an investigation by the Kingsport Police Department and ATF.  Kingsport Police Department officer Mike Slater, formerly a Task Force Officer assigned to the ATF led the investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney B. Todd Martin and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Blackwell represented the United States.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.



Rachelle Barnes
Public Affairs Officer
(865) 545-4167

Updated June 24, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods