DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western Distrtict of Tennessee

For Immediate Release

Friday, March 1, 2019
D. Michael Dunavant
, United States Attorney
Contact: Cherri Green

Armed Career Criminal Sentenced to 188 Months in Prison for Illegally Possessing Firearms and Drugs

Memphis, TN – A local man was sentenced as an armed career criminal for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and drugs. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced the sentence today.

According to information presented in court, on October 4, 2017, detectives with the Memphis Police Department Organized Crime Unit (OCU) obtained narcotics search warrants for both 656 North Dunlap and 4771 Winchester to search for marijuana in the possession of Marlon Pruitt a/k/a "Big Putt."

On October 5, officers executed the search warrant at the Dunlap address, waited for the defendant’s arrival, and immediately surrounded him. The officers knocked and announced their presence, and Pruitt's aunt answered the doorbell and told the officers that Pruitt lived upstairs. Upon searching the residence officers found multiple bags of marijuana weighing 70.9 grams, extra baggies and two digital scales. Pruitt also had $795 in his pocket. Inside an armoire, officers found some of the defendant's clothing together with a box of 20 gauge shotgun shells and a 20-gauge shotgun. The defendant admitted that all of the items belonged to him.

Law enforcement then executed the search warrant at the Winchester address and discovered 159.6 grams of marijuana in 53 separate bags in a desk drawer. Officers also found a digital scale and 25 live .45 caliber rounds.

At the time of these events, the defendant had previously been convicted of numerous felonies, including:

• Two counts of aggravated robbery on July 15, 1991

• Criminal attempt, to wit: murder first degree amended to aggravated assault on June 27, 1994

• Three counts of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine base on April 17, 1998, and

• Possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture/deliver/sell amended to solicitation: possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute -0.5 grams of cocaine on October 22, 2012.

He had also been convicted of numerous misdemeanor offenses.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "Convicted felons who possess firearms are an inherent danger to community, and in this case, "Big Putt" was an armed career criminal who continued to possess firearms and sell 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 drug dealer removed from our streets. Gun Crime is Max Time."

On February 28, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas L. Parker sentenced Pruitt to 188 months imprisonment followed by three years supervised release. Because of Pruitt's criminal history, he was sentenced as an Armed Career Criminal and faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years (180 months) imprisonment.

This case is part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative (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. In 2017, PSN was reinvigorated 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 Organized Crime Unit and the Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys J. William Crow and Raney Irwin prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

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Nashville Field Division