Federal Jury Convicts Two Gang Members with being unlawful users of Controlled Substance in Possession of Firearms
Memphis, TN – After a two and a half-day trial, a jury has convicted two gang members of illegally possessing firearms. D. Michael Dunavant, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the conviction today.
According to the information presented at trial, on May 27, 2017, detectives with the Multi-Agency Gang Unit were conducting patrols at the Breath of Life Christian Center, 3795 Raleigh-Frayser, during the funeral of a known gang member. While at the scene, detectives observed a silver Toyota Camry enter the church parking lot. The driver exited and three other occupants remained in the vehicle. Jamal Bowens, 19, was seated in the rear driver side seat, and Lee Hope, 21, in the rear passenger’s seat. The defendants are known gang members who regularly use controlled substances.
Detectives approached the vehicle and immediately smelled a strong odor of marijuana. Law enforcement also discovered a marijuana cigar located in the seat between Bowen and Hope and a Rossi .357 revolver on the floorboard under Bowen’s feet. The occupants were then removed from the car. Upon a search of Hope’s person, a stolen Smith and Wesson .40 caliber pistol was recovered.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "Based upon Attorney General Sessions’ announced priority for violent crime reduction, this office has resolved to be more aggressive and creative in using all of the applicable federal statutes to charge firearms offenses, and this case is a prime example of that commitment. I want to commend our law enforcement partners as we continue to work together to bring to justice those causing havoc throughout the Western District of Tennessee by the illegal use and possession of firearms. As this conviction demonstrates, if you are a gang member intent on committing crimes with a firearm in this district, rest assured you will be brought to justice. Gun Crime is Max Time."
The defendants face a maximum penalty of ten years in imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is set for April 27, 2018, before the Honorable Sheryl H. Lipman.
Lee Hope currently has cases pending for criminal attempt first-degree murder, in concert, and reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon in Shelby County Criminal Court.
Jamal Bowens has cases pending for aggravated robbery and criminal attempt first-degree murder in Shelby County Criminal Court.
This case was investigated by the Multi-Agency Gang Unit, Memphis Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Assistant U.S. Attorney Marques Young is prosecuting this case on the government’s behalf.