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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 25, 2018

U.S. Attorney Announces the Indictment of Sixteen Individuals on Federal Firearms Charges; Ten are Convicted Felons

Jackson, TN - On June 11, 2018, a federal grand jury indicted sixteen individuals for various federal violations originating from criminal conduct in eight counties across West Tennessee. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant for the Western District of Tennessee announced the indictments today. As charged in the indictments, ten of the defendants are prohibited by federal firearms laws from 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, § 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 minimum statutory sentence of at least 15 years imprisonment, with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

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 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.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "Violent crime reduction is the top priority of this office and the Department of Justice. Our strategy is to remove firearms from the hands of dangerous and prohibited people, and to remove those violent offenders from our communities. These indictments will impose significant consequences for illegal possession of firearms, and will make our district safer."

Christopher Bills, 25 of Bolivar, Tenn, was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm which had been shipped/transported in interstate commerce.

Jerrod Jennings 31, of Jackson, Tenn, was charged with being a convicted felon and unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm, which had been shipped/transported in interstate commerce; and possession of a firearm during commission of a drug trafficking crime.

Mark Lockhart, 40, of Jackson, Tenn, was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a stolen firearm, which had been shipped/transported in interstate commerce.

Kenneth Mitchell Fongers, 52, of Milan, Tenn, was charged with transporting a minor with intent to engage in unlawful sexual activity.

Carl Clarke, 28, of Dyersburg, Tenn, was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm which had been shipped/transported in interstate commerce.

Dexter Sowell, 34, of Jackson, Tenn, was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm which had been shipped/transported in interstate commerce.

William Martin Greene, 50, of Jackson, Tenn, was charged with being a convicted felon in possession and disposing of a firearm which had been shipped/transported in interstate commerce.

Charles Curry, 26, of Jackson, Tenn, was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm which had been shipped/transported in interstate commerce.

Houston Crafton, 22, of Jackson, Tenn, was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm which had been shipped/transported in interstate commerce.

Dacarlos Watkins, 37, of Jackson, Tenn, was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm which had been shipped/transported in interstate commerce.

Demarlon Gardner, 33, of Brownsville, Tenn, was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm which had been shipped/transported in interstate commerce.

An additional five indictments are under seal. The United States also seeks criminal forfeiture of any proceeds related to the crimes.

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

Updated June 25, 2018