In his zeal to put convicted drug distributors back on the street, Pres. Obama defied his own calls for tougher gun laws Friday by commuting the sentences of ten people convicted of firearms charges related to drug trafficking.
Since entering the White House, Pres. Obama has freed 49 people convicted of either "intent" or "conspiracy" to distribute drugs who were also convicted of gun crimes - and 10 of those he freed were previously-convicted felons who were in possession of guns.
In all, Pres. Obama has commuted 348 sentences - meaning one out of every seven criminals he freed were convicted of gun charges.
In these cases, freeing drug-related convicts took priority over Pres. Obama's goal of increasing penalties for gun crimes.
Today, Obama commuted the sentences of 42 convicted drug dealers, most dealing cocaine, including the ten convicted of gun crimes. (Note: While the White House press release does not mention that Douglas Ray Dunkins' conviction was drug-related, other federal court documents confirm that it was drug-related.) All had been convicted of either "intent" or "conspiracy" to distribute illegal drugs.
Four of the ten convicted on gun crimes even used their firearms while committing their drug crimes:
- Charrell Franklin Burrage – Davenport, IA
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute; possession of firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking; Southern District of Iowa
- Richard Eugene Dains – Porter, TX
Offense: Did conspire to manufacture methamphetamine; did knowingly and unlawfully possess in and affecting commerce, a firearm and prior thereto the defendant had been convicted in a court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year; did knowingly use and carry a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime for which the defendant may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, namely, conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine
- Joe Mack Flowers – St. Petersburg, FL
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of "crack" cocaine; possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of "crack" cocaine; possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking offense; convicted felon in possession of a firearm
- Marvin Hampton – Orangeburg, SC
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base; knowingly using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of, a drug trafficking crime
- Cleon Jermaine Hawkins – Baker, LA
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and cocaine; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime
- Gary Allen Lott – Oklahoma City, OK
Offense: Conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine (two counts); maintaining a residence to manufacture methamphetamine (three counts); possession of chemicals with intent to manufacture methamphetamine; use of a firearm in relation to drug trafficking crime
- Patrick Kit Plumlee – Newport News, VA
Offense: Continuing criminal enterprise; distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base (eight counts); use of a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime; renting, leasing, and making premises available for storing and distributing cocaine and cocaine base; money laundering and conspiracy (10 counts)
- Shawn Antonio Pressley – Greensboro, NC
Offense: Possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (crack); carry a firearm during a drug trafficking crime; Middle District of North Carolina
- Almos L. Starks – Jacksonville, FL
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base; possess with intent to distribute and distribute cocaine; possess with intent to distribute in excess of 50 grams of cocaine base; possession of firearms by a convicted felony.
- Shane William Tuttle – Great Falls, MT
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute (three counts); use of a firearm during drug trafficking offense (two counts); illegal use of communication facility (two counts); possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
At the time, the White House boasted that it had commuted the sentences of more convicted criminals than the last six presidents combined. With today's executive action, the White House says the president has now released more than the last seven presidents.