Federal prison time anticipated in Claiborne case

A serial scofflaw who accumulated a perilous number of felony convictions in Ohio is in grave danger of serious federal prison time related to an October 2019 firearm and methamphetamine arrest in Claiborne County, according to court documents.

A federal grand jury in Knoxville on Tuesday indicted Shane Nolan Franks, 47, for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm – a Bryco 9mm handgun – in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offense and possession with intent to distribute more than 5 grams of meth. The grand jury results were posted on Wednesday.

Under normal circumstances, Franks would be facing 10 years in federal prison – five for the crystal meth and a consecutive five for a firearm offense, but his sentence could be much longer. His overriding problem involves prior convictions for violent felonies.

In 1998, he was convicted of felony robbery in Dayton. Six years later, he was convicted of felonious assault with a deadly weapon in Xenia, according to a criminal complaint drafted by Rebecca Bobich, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent.

Defendants who have convictions for violent felonies that are separated in time can be declared armed career criminals and face a mandatory minimum 15 years behind bars if convicted of firearm possession in federal court. In some circumstances, federal prosecutors disregard a violent felony conviction after getting a guilty plea, but the matter seems to be mostly out of Franks’ hands.

On Oct. 11, 2019, Claiborne County Detective Eddie Hurley and Lt. Stephen Hurley located Franks, who had outstanding warrants for unspecified offenses, at a mobile home park on Saddle Ridge Lane in Tazewell. Hurley allegedly was holding 4 grams of meth. Another 14 grams of crystal meth, the handgun and $2,685 in suspected drug-sales proceeds allegedly were found in a car.

Kentucky resident Shawn Christopher Wright, who was arrested in Claiborne County in November 2019 while he and an accomplice were burglarizing a Harrogate home, is in a situation similar to Franks.

Assistant U.S. Attorney LaToyia Carpenter on Tuesday filed a factual basis that indicates Wright, 48, will plead guilty to possession of more than 5 grams of crystal meth and possession of firearms, a loaded .38-caliber handgun and a loaded AR-15-style rifle, by a convicted felon.

Wright’s starting point will be 10 years. If his prior convictions, which were not detailed in the factual basis, qualify him as an armed career criminal, his presumptive bottom-of-the-range sentence will be 15 years, according to the federal prosecutor.

The defendant and his accomplice, a woman named Toni Andrews, had a clawfoot bathtub loaded in the back of a pickup when Claiborne County Deputy Seth Miracle arrived to investigate. Miracle confiscated about 40 grams of crystal meth, 3.5 grams of heroin and 49 clonazepam pills for which neither Miracle nor Andrews had a prescription, according to Carpenter.