Jury convicts Simpson man on drug and firearm crimes

Methamphetamine file photo

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.  – A federal jury convicted a Simpson County man Wednesday of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Donavan Bell, 40, sold greater than five grams of methamphetamine to a confidential source on July 23, 2019, according to a release from U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky . On that date a confidential source was given a recording device by agents with Homeland Security Investigations and the South-Central Kentucky Drug Task Force.

The confidential source then drove to Bell’s residence in Simpson County where they picked up Bell and drove him to meet with a methamphetamine dealer, according to the release. Bell purchased additional methamphetamine and then sold more than five grams of methamphetamine to the confidential source for $250. The entire transaction was video recorded. During the transaction, Bell appeared to have a handgun sitting on the table in front him.

On Aug. 7, 2019, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Bell’s residence in Simpson County. As law enforcement surrounded the house, a Simpson County Sheriff’s deputy saw an arm throw a bag out of a back window. The bag was recovered and contained greater than five grams of methamphetamine, according to the release. Law enforcement also located digital scales, money and two handguns hidden in an air vent. The air vent appeared to have been made to act as a hiding spot for items. The handguns were loaded, and one resembled the firearm seen on video during the controlled purchase conducted on July 23, 2019.

After the jury convicted Bell, they were presented with evidence that Bell had a prior federal conviction for possession with the intent to distribute cocaine base in Western District of Kentucky case number 1:08-CR-00007. Due to this prior conviction, and Bell having served more than 12 months for that conviction, and his release from custody on that sentence within 15 years of the new conviction, Bell will face enhanced penalties.

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 16, 2021. Bell faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years imprisonment due to the enhanced punishments, with a maximum potential penalty of life imprisonment.

Acting U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett of the Western District of Kentucky and HSI Special Agent in Charge Jerry C. Templet, Jr. made the announcement.

HSI, the South-Central Kentucky Drug Task Force and the Simpson County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark J. Yurchisin II and Madison Sewell of the Bowling Green U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case with the assistance of Cristy Crockett, paralegal.