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Press Release

Jury Finds Convicted Felon Guilty of Illegally Possessing a Firearm

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

Memphis, TN – Following a three-and-a-half-day jury trial in federal court, Travis Lester, 42, has 
been found guilty of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Joseph C. Murphy, Jr., 
United States Attorney, announced the guilty verdict today.

According to information presented in court, on May 19, 2021, at approximately 1:00pm, the United 
States Marshals Service and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Apprehension Team received 
information from a confidential source that two wanted fugitives were staying in a room at the 
Villa Inn Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

The fugitives were identified as Travis Lester, 42, and his girlfriend who had outstanding arrest 
warrants. Detectives spoke with the hotel staff and learned which room they were staying in.  The 
marshals knocked on the door, and both Lester and his girlfriend answered.  They were immediately 
placed under arrest.  From the doorway, officers observed a digital scale on the nightstand. While 
searching Lester's person, deputies recovered 20 rocks of crack cocaine and Lester admitted he had 
more drugs inside the room.

Shelby County Sheriff's Office Narcotics Unit responded to the scene, secured a search warrant for 
the room where a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol, with a red extended magazine was recovered from 
a plastic bag containing Lester's clothing. The gun was loaded with 16 live rounds of ammunition in 
the magazine and 1 live round in the chamber.

Lester’s prior felony convictions include felon in possession of ammunition in 2016, felon in 
possession of a firearm in 2013 and reckless homicide in 2008. As a result of his prior felony 
convictions, Lester is prohibited by federal law from possessing ammunition and

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.

This  case was  investigated by  Project  Safe Neighborhood, the  Memphis Police Department, the 
United States Marshal Service, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation 
(TBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Sentencing is set for November 18, 2022, before United States District Judge Samuel H. Mays where 
he faces up to ten years in federal prison followed by three years’ supervised release. There is no 
parole in the federal system.

Assistant United States Attorney Raney Irwin is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.


Updated April 19, 2023