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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 2, 2018

U.S. Attorney Announces the Indictment of Eight Individuals on Federal Firearms Charges, Including Two Illegal Aliens

Jackson, TN – On April 16, 2018, a federal grand jury indicted eight individuals for federal firearms violations. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant for the Western District of Tennessee announced the indictments today. As charged in the indictments, eight of the defendants are prohibited by federal firearms laws from possessing firearms. In two of the cases, the grand jury charged the defendants as aliens illegally possessing firearms.

Several defendants charged in this series of indictments are alleged to be convicted felons. Under federal law, it is illegal for an individual convicted of a felony to possess a firearm. This is a violation of Title 18, United States Code (USC), § 922(g)(1). A violation of this section is punishable by a term of up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of no less than two years. The penalty for a violation of § 922(g)(1) is enhanced when a defendant has a prior criminal record that includes three convictions for a violent felony or serious drug offenses. Under this enhanced sentencing provision, the defendant is subject to a mandatory minimumstatutory sentence of at least 15 years imprisonment, with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "Violent crime reduction is the top priority of this office and the Department of Justice. Many violent crimes are committed by prohibited persons with firearms, including convicted felons, persons with a history of domestic violence, illegal aliens, and persons possessing firearms in furtherance of crimes of violence and drug trafficking. This office will aggressively prosecute and seek mandatory federal sentencing guidelines to target and remove from our communities armed career criminals and career drug offenders who illegally possess firearms across West Tennessee. We are Fed Up. Gun Crime is Max Time."

Federal firearms laws also prohibit an individual convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence from possessing a firearm. This is a violation of Title 18, USC, § 922(g)(9). An individual convicted of violating this section is subject to a term of up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of no less than two years.

It is also against federal law to possess or use and carry a firearm during or in relation to a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime. This is a violation of Title 18, USC, § 924(c). A violation of this section is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of at least five years imprisonment to a maximum of life imprisonment.

Rodrigo Ayala-Garcia, 33, of Mexico, was charged with illegally possessing a firearm, having previously been deported as an illegal alien in violation of Title 8, USC, § 1326(a) and (b). Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Powell is prosecuting this case.

Oliver Mendosa-Rodriguez, 38, of Jackson, was charged with illegally possessing a firearm, a felony, having previously been deported as an illegal alien in violation of Title 18, USC § 1326(a) and (b). Assistant U.S. Attorney James Powell is prosecuting this case.

Alfred Gene Scott, 48, of Jackson, was charged with possessing a .38 caliber revolver firearm which had been transported in interstate commerce after being convicted of a felony, in violation of Title 18, USC, §§ 922(g) and 924(a)(e). Assistant U.S. Attorney James Powell is prosecuting this case.

Justin Rashad Forrest, 34, of Jackson, was charged with possessing a Smith and Wesson .38 caliber revolver and a Sig Sauer .40 caliber pistol, after previously being convicted of a felony in violation of Title 18, USC, §§ 922 and 924(a)(e). Assistant U.S. Attorney James Powell is prosecuting this case.

Christopher Kennon, 37, of Lexington, was charged with possessing a Lorcin Engineering Company .380 caliber pistol in furtherance of drug trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18, USC, § 922(g)(1), and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute after being convicted of a felony, in violation of Title 18, USC, § 841(a)(1). The United States also seeks criminal forfeiture of any proceeds related to the crime. Assistant U.S. Attorney Taylor Eskridge is prosecuting this case.

Keaston Tipton, 27, of Dyersburg, was charged with possessing a firearm transported in interstate commerce after being a convicted of a felony, in violation of Title 18, USC, § 922 (g)(1). The United States also seeks criminal forfeiture of any proceeds related to the crime. Assistant U.S. Attorney Taylor Eskridge is prosecuting this case.

Antron Tyus, 28, of Humboldt, was charged with possessing a Ruger Mini 14 caliber .233 pistol in interstate commerce after being a convicted felon, in violation of Title 18, USC, §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(3). The United States also seeks criminal forfeiture of any proceeds related to the crime. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Wilson is prosecuting this case.

The last indictment was sealed. The defendant was charged with being a convicted felon possessing a firearm with intent to distribute heroin. The United States also seeks criminal forfeiture of any proceeds related to the crime.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictments are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated May 2, 2018