A Chattanooga man who prosecutors say has 40 prior convictions, including 23 felonies, was sentenced on Thursday to 15 years in federal prison.
Darien Houston, 43, appeared before Judge Curtis Collier.
Prosecutor Chris Poole had asked for the high end of the range - 220 months, saying Houston is a member of the Vice Lords gang. He said the felonies include burglary, possession of cocaine for resale, possession of marijuana for resale, felony escape, forgery, theft of property and concealing stolen property, among others.
Houston said he wanted to withdraw his earlier guilty plea to being a felon in possession of a weapon, but the judge would not allow it.
After his federal arrest, Houston met guidelines of being an armed career criminal. That carries a minimum of 15 years.
On May 31, 2012, the Chattanooga Police Department arrested Houston after a search warrant was executed at his residence. The search revealed approximately seven grams of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, a pistol magazine with .45 caliber ammunition, and a Smith & Wesson 38 Special caliber revolver.
Houston initially denied having any knowledge of the revolver but later consented to an interview. Houston admitted to knowing the revolver was in the residence and handling it.
His prior felony convictions include two counts of possession of cocaine for resale, second-degree burglary, escape, possession of marijuana for resale, reckless endangerment, concealing stolen property, forgery and theft of property.
In 2006, police were called to North Hickory Street after Jeri Houston said her ex-husband, Darien Houston, was back bothering her again. She said this time he broke out her two bedroom windows and slashed two of her tires.
An officer said while he was interviewing Ms. Houston, Darien Houston called twice. While getting warrants against him, Ms. Houston called and said he was back. Officers went to the scene and spotted him, then gave chase. He kept running and jumping over fences, but was finally caught and charged.
At the time it was also found he had outstanding warrants for aggravated burglary, theft over $500 and vandalism.
U.S. Attorney Bill Killian praised the efforts of the law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation.
He said, “Thanks to their dedication and cooperation, a career criminal will serve a lengthy sentence in federal prison."
ATF Special Agent in Charge Jeff Fulton said, “The success of this investigation is a result of the collaborative efforts of ATF and our local partners. This investigation is more evidence that ATF's commitment to combating violent crime is unwavering. ATF's Frontline strategy utilizes every available resource to make our communities a safer place to live."
Agencies involved in the investigation which led to the indictment and conviction of Houston included the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Chattanooga Police Department.