BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A federal judge on Thursday, Oct. 11, sentenced a Sylacauga man to 10 years in prison on drug and gun charges, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Marcus Watson.
U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor sentenced Damon Eugene Oden, 40, for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and for possessing with intent to distribute about 12 grams of methamphetamine. A federal jury convicted Oden in June. When Sylacauga Police arrested Oden in May 2017, he was riding a bicycle and had a Hi-Point .380-caliber pistol in his pants pocket, digital scales in a backpack, and about 12 grams of methamphetamine in small plastic bags, according to court records.
“A convicted felon carrying drugs and a gun can only mean harm to the community,” Town said. “A federal jury convicted this defendant of federal crimes, so the sentence he received today is the sentence he will serve in full in federal prison.”
“This case is a good example of our law enforcement partners working with ATF’s crime gun intelligence, focused on areas where firearms are fueling violence and endangering the safety of those communities,” Watson said.
Court records relate the arrest that led to Oden’s conviction as follows:
On May 8, 2017, Sylacauga Police were patrolling an area of the city that had been experiencing vehicle break-ins when they saw Oden enter some woods on a bicycle. The officers, including Sylacauga Police Chief Kelley Johnson, stopped Oden as he came out on the other side of the woods.
As the officers approached Oden, they saw a gun in his pants pocket, which they prevented him from grabbing and then recovered. Oden was holding a plastic bag containing methamphetamine and had other bags containing methamphetamine in a pouch on his belt. He wore the backpack that held the scales.
Oden previously was convicted of felony unlawful possession of a controlled substance in January 2011 in Coosa County Circuit Court.
ATF investigated the case in conjunction with Sylacauga Police. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John B. Felton and John Geer prosecuted the case.