Convicted Felon Pleads to Series of Gun and Drug Charges

Prosecutors in DA Charme Allen’s Career Gang Unit obtained a thirty-one-year sentence against a multi-convicted felon for firearms and drug trafficking offenses.  Demarquise Lamar Welch, 38, was convicted of Possession with Intent to Sell Heroin, Possession with Intent to Sell Cocaine, Possession with Intent to Sell ANPP, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Dangerous Felony, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon by a Convicted Felon, Theft, and Evading Arrest.  Judge Steve Sword accepted the agreement and approved a total effective sentence of thirty-one years.

In a plea agreement outlined by Assistant District Attorney TaKisha Fitzgerald and announced by ADA Larry Dillon, prosecutors explained to the Court that on October 10, 2018, Knoxville Police Department Lt. Gordon Gwathney saw Welch driving a Dodge Charger that had been reported stolen earlier in the day.  Lt. Gwathney attempted to pull Welch over, but Welch fled the scene in the Charger.  Welch was found a short time later at 4113 Alma Avenue.  Inside the Charger, officers located a loaded .40 caliber handgun, a loaded .223 caliber pistol, and multiple bags of cocaine.  Officers discovered more firearms and drugs inside the residence.  While on bond for this case, KPD Inv. Phil Jinks and other investigators with the Organized Crime Unit learned that Welch was selling heroin out of 3208 E. Fifth Avenue.  On February 10, 2021, as officers prepared to serve a search warrant at that address, Welch was observed driving away from the scene.  When officers attempted to stop Welch, he again fled in a vehicle, evading arrest.  Back at the Fifth Avenue residence, officers discovered heroin and drug trafficking paraphernalia.  Welch remained on the run until officers located him on July 17, 2021.  Welch was found passed out in a vehicle with a bag of cocaine in his hand.  When officers woke Welch up, he attempted to put the car in drive.  After Welch exited the car, he attempted to flee on foot and fought officers before being handcuffed.  Once he was in custody, officers discovered a loaded .40 caliber handgun in his waistband and multiple bags of drugs in the car.

“My Office will continue to aggressively prosecute convicted felons in possession of firearms and individuals who repeatedly traffic drugs in our community,” said DA Charme Allen.

Welch has five prior convictions out of Knox and Washington Counties for Reckless Endangerment involving a deadly weapon, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon by a Convicted Felon, Evading Arrest, Possession with Intent to Sell Cocaine, and Theft.

If you have any questions, please contact Sean McDermott at 865-215-2515 or [email protected]. For more information about the District Attorney’s Office, visit our website at dag.knoxcountytn.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.