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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Mississippi

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 8, 2018

Durant Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Sell Stolen Firearms

 

Jackson, Miss. – Darnell Branch, 33, of Durant, pled guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves, to conspiring to sell stolen firearms, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Special Agent in Charge Dana Nichols of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

Around 2:30 a.m. on July 28, 2014, Estelle Cook and co-defendant Corey Hughes tore a hole in the side of Central Mississippi Firearms, a gun store in Kosciusko, Mississippi, and stole 41 guns. Darnell Branch, Corey Hughes, Estelle Cook, and others sold at least a dozen of the stolen guns in Durant and Lexington, Mississippi. Branch participated in the sale of at least nine of the stolen guns to six different buyers. Branch also bought one of the stolen guns.

On October 3, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Hughes, Cook, Branch, and Frederick Russell for their unlawful conspiracy to possess and sell stolen firearms. On the same day, a federal grand jury indicted Jermaine Griffin for receiving and possessing one of the stolen guns.

At today’s hearing, Branch became the fifth defendant to plead guilty to his role in the conspiracy. He will be sentenced by Judge Reeves on June 11, 2018, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Co-defendant Frederick Russell pled guilty on January 10, 2018, to conspiracy to possess and sell stolen firearms. He will be sentenced by Judge Reeves on May 30, 2018, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Co-defendant Estelle Cook pled guilty on February 8, 2018, to being a felon in possession of a firearm. He will be sentenced by Judge Reeves on May 15, 2018, and faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Co-defendant Corey Hughes pled guilty on February 13, 2018, to being a felon in possession of a firearm. He will be sentenced by Judge Reeves on June 11, 2018, and faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Jermaine Griffin pled guilty on January 18, 2018, to possession of a stolen firearm. He will be sentenced by Judge Tom S. Lee on May 31, 2018, and faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Case.

Updated March 8, 2018