Henry County felon gets 6 years for illegal weapons possession 

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JACKSON, TENNESSEE – Jeffery Garvin Townsend, 60, of Paris, Tennessee, has been sentenced to 78 months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney, announced the sentence today.

According to the information presented in court, on March 20, 2019, officers executed a search warrant at Townsend’s residence in Henry County, Tennessee. During a search of the garage, officers found a large locked firearms safe. A search of the residence yielded another large firearms safe in the basement that was also locked. Townsend refused to speak with the officers, and instead requested an attorney.

Officers then spoke with Townsend’s son about the combinations to and contents of the safes. He stated that he only knew the combination to the safe in his father’s bedroom in the basement. The son also informed law enforcement that the safe in the bedroom had guns in it, and the safe in the garage contained ammunition. The safe in the basement was opened and contained 13 guns (6 shotguns, 6 rifles, and one handgun), two barrels, and ammunition. One of the guns, a Century Arms AK-47, had a full magazine in it. One of the other guns, a Winchester Super X3, had the serial number filed off. Two other guns (a Bushmaster AR-15 and a Browning Invector Gold 10 gauge shotgun) were previously reported stolen. The officers had to force open the safe in the garage, which contained a large amount of ammunition.

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The son also told law enforcement that several of the firearms in the safe belonged to his father, and that he had seen his father shoot several of the guns recently. He also said his father had acquired some of the guns in the last few months.

Townsend is a convicted felon, having been previously convicted in federal court of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition in 2008, and attempting to possess wildlife taken in violation of federal law in 2002. Townsend was also convicted of aggravated assault in 1985. As a result of his prior felony convictions, Townsend is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.

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On December 4, 2020, Chief U.S. District Judge S. Thomas Anderson sentenced Townsend to 78 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, “The government has a strong interest in preventing people who already have disrespected the law, including felons, from possessing guns. As a prior convicted felon, Townsend’s possession of a large cache of firearms and ammunition, including stolen guns and one with obliterated serial numbers, continued to threaten the security of his fellow citizens. This sentence accomplishes the public safety goals of removing firearms from dangerous offenders and providing just punishment, incapacitation, and deterrence for repeated violations of law.”

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The Paris, Tennessee Police Department, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) investigated this case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Morrow prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.