Owsley County, Kentucky Man Sentenced to 240 Months for Armed Methamphetamine Trafficking

LONDON, KY A Booneville, Kentucky, man, James Everett Smith, 52, was sentenced in federal court on Monday, to 240 months in prison, by U.S. District Judge Robert Wier, for his convictions for to possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

According to his guilty plea agreement, Smith admitted that on September 23, 2018, in Owsley County, law enforcement responded to a shots-fired complaint. After searching Smith’s residence, they discovered six firearms, various ammunition, over 685 grams of methamphetamine, $1,170 in cash, digital scales, and other controlled substances. The firearms and methamphetamine were located next to each other. Smith further admitted that he knew he was a convicted felon and was prohibited from owning a firearm.

Smith pleaded guilty in February 2020.

Under federal law, Smith must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence and will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for 10 years.

Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Shawn Morrow, Special Agent in Charge, ATF, Louisville Filed Division; and Commissioner Rodney Brewer, Kentucky State Police, jointly made the announcement. 

The investigation was directed by the ATF and KSP. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Parman.

This is another case prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” Program (PSN), which is a nationwide, crime reduction strategy aimed at decreasing violent crime in communities. It involves a comprehensive approach to public safety — one that includes investigating and prosecuting crimes, along with prevention and reentry efforts. In the Eastern District of Kentucky, U.S. Attorney Robert Duncan Jr., coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.

This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. Click here for more information about Project Guardian.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at

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