DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
D. Michael Dunavant
, United States Attorney

Memphis Man with Multiple Prior Felonies has Been Sentenced to 180 Months in Federal Prison for Possession with Intent to Manufacture and Distribute Narcotics

Memphis, TN – A Memphis man has been sentenced to 180 months in federal prison for trafficking narcotics, possession with intent to distribute and manufacture controlled substances and being a felon in possession of a firearm. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the sentence today.

According to information presented in court, in March 2015, Duane Anthony Rouch, 53, purchased narcotics from underground websites designed to enable users across the world to buy and sell illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services anonymously outside the reach of law enforcement. To purchase narcotics on the "Dark Web" Rouch used "cryptocurrency," a form of payment used to conceal the identity of the buyer and seller using third-party vendors.

In March 2015, Rouch received a package from China containing a pill mold. From 2015 until December 2016, he received packages containing microcrystalline cellulose, a binding agent used to manufacture pharmaceutical pills. The defendant ordered online from China and Canada and had the packages shipped on ten occasions to a warehouse address in Memphis, Tennessee.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "In order to stem the rising tide of violence, addiction, and overdoses that are tearing our communities apart, we must focus on the dangerous supply of illegal narcotics flowing into West Tennessee by individuals and organizations who manufacture and distribute illegal drugs in order to unlawfully enrich themselves. This case demonstrates our resolve to hold drug traffickers responsible by the use of mandatory minimum sentencing under federal law, and sends a strong message: If you sow misery, addiction, and violence into our communities by distributing poison to our citizens, you will reap the certain consequences of a long federal prison sentence."

On September 16, 2016, Memphis Homeland Security ("ICE") Agents received information from U.S. Customs and Border Protection ("CBP") about a Canadian company shipping contraband to Memphis, Tennessee. This company transships contraband from China to the United States and supplies pill presses and chemicals for producing counterfeit pills or tablets. Furthermore, CBP Officers provided that at least ten shipments had been forwarded to the warehouse in Memphis, Tennessee.

In December 2016, Officers with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office obtained a state search warrant for the warehouse to search for illicit narcotics. Law enforcement found an unloaded Lorcin 9 millimeter pistol, iPhone 6, pill press covered in residue, several mixing containers and utensils coated with white powder, drug paraphernalia – methamphetamine pipes, scales, presses, Xanax pills, lab mixing utensils, and materials used to manufacture methamphetamine – and more than 5 grams of methamphetamine in a mail parcel. The search of Rouch’s iPhone 6 revealed multiple photos/videos consistent with drug trafficking. At the time of the search, Rouch was on parole for multiple felony offenses.

On Tuesday, September 5, 2017, a federal jury convicted Rouch of one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, one count of possession with intent to distribute alprazolam, one count of conspiracy to commit the trafficking of narcotics and one count of felon in possession of a firearm. He was subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years on the methamphetamine related offenses.

On Monday, February 5, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge John T. Fowlkes Jr., sentenced Rouch to 15 years imprisonment.

This case was investigated by the Border Enforcement Security Team, which consists of federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, United States Postal Service and local law enforcement offices. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted in the investigation.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryce Phillips prosecuted this case on the government’s behalf.

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Field Division: Nashville Field Division