For Immediate Release
Convicted Felon Sentenced to Over 12 Years for Possession With the Intent To Distribute Methamphetamine and Unlawfully Possessing a Firearm
Jackson, TN - Mark Allen Branch, 34, of Union City, Tennessee, has been sentenced to 151 months in federal prison for possession with the intent to distribute over 50 grams of actual methamphetamine and for being a felon-in-possession of a firearm. Joseph C. Murphy, Jr., United States Attorney, announced the sentence today.
According to information presented in court, on January 15, 2020, officers with the Dyer County Sheriff's Department conducted a traffic stop on a green Pontiac Bonneville for a registration violation. The defendant was in the front passenger seat.
During the search of the vehicle, officers located a green camouflage backpack on the front passenger side floorboard. A loaded Smith and Wesson .380 caliber pistol was found inside the backpack. After being advised of and waiving his Miranda rights, Branch admitted the backpack was his. Other items located in the backpack included a digital scale, three plastic baggies of methamphetamine, and eight individually wrapped baggies of marijuana. Branch confirmed that everything inside the backpack belonged to him.
The DEA issued a laboratory report in this case, which confirmed a net weight of 54.10 grams of actual methamphetamine with a purity level of 95%. The DEA also confirmed that the marijuana weighed 174.95 grams.
A special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) examined Branch's pistol and determined that the gun was manufactured outside the state of Tennessee and therefore traveled in interstate commerce prior to being possessed by Branch on January 15, 2020.
Officers also confirmed that Branch is a convicted felon. In November 2007, Branch was convicted of Possession of over .5 grams of Cocaine with Intent to Sell/Deliver in Dyer County, Mitigated Statutory Rape and Failure to Appear in Dyer County in August 2009, and Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture in Dyer County in April 2012.
On March 23, 2022, Branch pled guilty in federal court to the charges of Possession of over 50 grams of Actual Methamphetamine with the Intent to Distribute and Felon-in-Possession of a Firearm. As a convicted felon, Branch is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition.
This case was investigated by the Dyer County Sheriff’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
On July 14, 2022, United States District Judge J. Daniel Breen sentenced Branch to 151 months’ imprisonment to be followed by five years of supervised. There is no parole in the federal system.
Assistant United States Attorney Josh Morrow prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.