Walter Wade Griffin, 43, of Benton County, has been sentenced to more than 18 years (220 months) in federal prison for possession with intent to distribute over 50 grams of actual methamphetamine. U.S. Attorney Michael Dunavant announced the sentence on Monday, Nov. 9.
According to information and testimony presented in court, on June 15, 2018, a Benton County Sheriff’s deputy observed Griffin traveling northbound on Hwy. 69A in Benton County. The deputy had prior knowledge that Griffin had an active warrant in Dickson County for failing to appear, and an active Tennessee state parole violation warrant.
As the deputy turned his vehicle around to conduct a traffic stop, he observed Griffin attempting to flee. After a short pursuit, Griffin made a hard turn in his vehicle, spun into a ditch, and became stuck. Griffin was then taken into custody without incident.
A search of Griffin’s vehicle revealed 75 grams of crystal methamphetamine (ice), five oxycodone pills, eight hydrocodone pills, digital scales, and a pipe commonly used to smoke methamphetamine. The crystal methamphetamine was packaged for resale in 13 separate bags. It was later tested at a DEA laboratory and confirmed to have a purity level of 98 percent.
On May 3, 2019, Griffin pled guilty to possessing over 50 grams of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Griffin has an extensive criminal history with prior felony convictions for possessing, selling, and distributing methamphetamine. As a result of these prior felony drug convictions, Griffin is classified as a career drug offender under federal law for purposes of sentencing.
Evidence at sentencing on Oct. 30 also revealed that one month prior to his present offense, Griffin was detained on I-40 in Dickson County and found to be in possession of one-half pound of methamphetamine. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Thomas Anderson noted that Griffin presented a significant risk to public safety due his recidivist nature and his inability to conform to the law and cease his criminal activity.
Anderson sentenced Griffin to 18 years and 4 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.
U.S. Attorney Michael Dunavant said, “Deadly, addictive, and illegal drugs, especially pure methamphetamine, are ripping asunder small towns and rural communities in West Tennessee. Recidivist drug dealers who profit from the pain, addiction, violence, and death caused by these dangerous substances deserve proper punishment, and this sentence does just that.”
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jerry Kitchen and Josh Morrow prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.