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Press Release

Henry County Man Sentenced to 204 Months for Unlawfully Possessing Assault Rifle, Attempting to Distribute Marijuana in Obion County Jail

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

Jackson, TN – A repeat offender has been collectively sentenced to 204 months in federal prison for two separate crimes. Markia D. Patton, 30, of Paris, Tennessee has been sentenced to 190 months for possession of an assault rifle while attempting to traffic marijuana. Patton received an additional sentence of 14 months for conspiring to distribute marijuana in the Obion County Jail while incarcerated on the aforementioned case. Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the sentences today.

According to information presented in court, Patton unlawfully possessed with the intent to distribute more than three pounds of marijuana. He also illegally possessed a semi-automatic SKS assault rifle.

On September 24, 2012, the Henry County Metro Crime Unit responded to a 911 call involving an armed suspect behind some houses in the Wynn Street section of Paris, Tennessee. When officers arrived, they located the defendant behind the houses. Witnesses on the scene identified Patton as the armed suspect.

While searching the area, officers located a semi-automatic assault rifle wrapped in a coat lying in the weeds beside the back of one of the homes. Over 3.5 pounds of marijuana packaged for resale in four separate baggies were located close to the assault rifle. Law enforcement also searched Patton’s vehicle, finding a set of digital scales used to weigh narcotics and a box of sandwich bags, which are commonly used to package illegal narcotics for resale. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) Nashville Crime Laboratory found Patton’s fingerprints on the bags. The TBI Lab also confirmed Patton’s DNA was on items in a pocket of the jacket that concealed the assault rifle.

On Thursday, February 18, 2016, Patton was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge J. Daniel Breen to 130 months for felony possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and another 60 months for possession with intent to distribute less than 50 kilograms of marijuana.

Patton was sentenced to an additional 14 months on Friday, March 18, 2016 for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana in the Obion County Jail. He pled guilty to the charge in February 2016.

According to court information, Patton, incarcerated on the aforementioned case at the time, conspired with his girlfriend, 25-year-old Shalyndrea Williams, and a then-correctional officer, 35-year-old Cara Bing, to smuggle and distribute marijuana inside of the jail. From February to June 2015, Patton had Williams bring marijuana into the jail. From there, Bing would retrieve the marijuana, smuggle it inside the jail, and distribute it to Patton.

TBI agents were informed that Patton was having marijuana brought into the jail. Surveillance was set up on the entrance to the women’s restroom in the lobby of the facility. In June 2015, agents discovered more than 30 grams of marijuana in the trash can of the restroom. Williams was allegedly directed by Patton to bring the drugs into the restroom.

Williams dropped off drugs and tobacco in the facility’s women’s restroom on at least six occasions for Patton. Bing was paid several hundred dollars to retrieve and deliver the smuggled drugs to Patton.

Both Williams and Bing have pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute marijuana.

Williams is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday, April 14, 2016. Bing is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday, June 14, 2016. The defendants face individual sentences of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000.

The first case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF); TBI; Henry County Sheriff's Department; Henry County Metro Crime Unit; and the Paris Police Department.

The second case was investigated by TBI, Obion County Sheriff’s Department, and the 27th Judicial District Drug Task Force.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Beth C. Boswell prosecuted these cases on the government’s behalf.

Updated March 18, 2016