Memphis, TN – A local man has pleaded guilty to possession of firearm and drug trafficking. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced the sentence today.
This case was set for a jury trial on June 24, 2019. However, halfway through the first day of trial, the defendant decided to plead guilty after the judge granted a pretrial motion in the favor of the United States and the United States subpoenaed a crucial eyewitness to the defendant’s arrest and had him present outside the courtroom ready to testify.
According to information presented in court, on February 12, 2018, Memphis Police Department patrol officers saw a dark green Nissan Maxima parked and running in a stall of a car wash at 539 East Mallory. It was approximately 30 degrees outside and the car was not being washed. Two officers approached the car and smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle. As officers approached, they saw the driver, later identified as Marcus Franklin, 46, with a plastic bag of marijuana in his hand. He attempted to put the bag in his pocket. Officers asked him to give them the bag of marijuana, and he complied. Franklin was asked to step out of the vehicle and he initially complied.
As the officer placed one handcuff on Franklin, he fled from the scene. The two officers were able to catch the defendant a short distance away, but he resisted arrest and tried to grab the service weapon out of the holster of one of the officers. Franklin then fought his way back to the Maxima and grabbed a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol he kept on the driver’s side floorboard. Officers gave commands to comply and the suspect was finally handcuffed and arrested.
The bag of marijuana weighed 16.3 grams. Officers also found a folded $1 bill containing a small amount of cocaine in the pants of one of the other occupants of the vehicle.
The defendant was a convicted felon at the time of these events. A special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reviewed a description of the firearm seized in this case and determined that it was manufactured outside the State of Tennessee, and therefore at some point entered into interstate commerce.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: “Convicted felons who possess firearms are an inherent danger to the community, and in this case, Franklin continued to possess a firearm and illegal narcotics despite his prior felony conviction history. There is and ought to be a significant consequence for such recidivist criminal behavior, and this is one more armed offender that will be removed from our streets. Gun Crime is Max Time.”
Sentencing is set for September 19, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Thomas L. Parker, where the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
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 make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. PSN was reinvigorated in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.
This case was investigated by the Memphis Police Department and Project Safe Neighborhoods.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys J. William Crow and Wendy Cornejo are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.