Benton County Career Criminal Sentenced to 18 Years for Possession with Intent to Distribute Over 50 Grams of Actual Methamphetamine

Jackson, TN – Walter Griffin, 43, of Benton County, TN., has been sentenced to 220 months in federal prison for possession with intent to distribute over 50 grams of actual methamphetamine. D. Michael Dunavant, United States Attorney announced the sentence today.

According to information presented in court, on June 15, 2018, a Benton County Sheriff’s deputy observed Griffin traveling northbound on Highway 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 flee. After a short pursuit, Griffin made a hard turn in his vehicle and 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%.

On May 3, 2019, Griffin pled guilty to possessing over 50 grams of actual methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Griffin has an extensive criminal history with prior felony convictions for selling methamphetamine and possessing methamphetamine with intent to sell. As a result of these prior felony drug convictions, Griffin is classified as a career drug offender under federal law for purposes of sentencing.

On October 30, 2020, U.S. District Court Chief Judge S. Thomas Anderson sentenced Griffin to 220 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release. Evidence at sentencing 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. Chief Judge 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. There is no parole in the federal system.

U.S. Attorney D. 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.