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Convicted Kingsport felon gets 20 years for firearms violation

Wes Bunch • Apr 30, 2013 at 10:04 AM

GREENEVILLE — A Kingsport man was sentenced to two decades in federal prison Tuesday after being convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Leslie H. Ashmore, 46, of Kingsport, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Leon Jordan to serve 240 months in federal prison without parole. Ashmore must also complete five years of supervised probation upon his release.

Ashmore was convicted of possession a firearm after having been convicted of a felony following a jury trial in December 2012 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee in Greeneville.

Ashmore was arrested on federal charges by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in October 2011 when a firearm was found in the vehicle in which he was traveling.

The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office and the Second Judicial Drug Task Force assisted with the arrest.

Ashmore was subject to the Armed Career Criminal Act, under which a person convicted of possessing a firearm after a felony conviction is subject to a minimum mandatory 15 years, up to life in prison if that person has three or more prior violent felony or drug felony convictions.

The case against Ashmore was brought under Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which the U.S. Attorney’s Office describes as a comprehensive national strategy that creates local partnerships with law enforcement agencies to effectively enforce existing gun laws.

Federal authorities said PSN provides more options to prosecutors, allowing them to utilize local, state, and federal laws to ensure those who are convicted of gun crimes face tough sentences.

Ashmore’s conviction followed a joint investigation by the Kingsport Police Department, Second Judicial District Drug Task Force and ATF. Assistant U.S. Attorneys J. Gregory Bowman and Suzanne Kerney-Quillen prosecuted.

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