A Washington County man was sentenced to five years and three months in federal prison earlier this month after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Greeneville.

Lyle Vernon Tarlton, 30, of Telford, was sentenced Feb. 8 by Judge Ronnie Greer, in U.S. District Court in Greeneville.

Tarlton was arrested Aug. 13, 2019, after Washington County sheriff’s deputies found him asleep in a vehicle parked on the side of a road in Telford. He was sitting in the driver’s seat with the key in the ignition.

When officers arrived, they asked Tarlton to step out of the vehicle. When he did, they saw a short-barrel shotgun laying between the driver’s seat and door.

When they checked Tarlton’s background, officers learned he was a convicted felon. In addition to that offense, it is illegal to posses a shotgun with a barrel shorter than 18 inches unless it’s registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

Washington County and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives jointly investigated the case and took the charge to federal court, where Tarlton would face a stiffer sentence than he would in state court.

The case was part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, which is a comprehensive national strategy that creates local partnerships with law enforcement agencies to effectively enforce existing gun laws.

The program provides more options to prosecutors, allowing them to utilize local, state, and federal laws to ensure that criminals who commit gun crime face tough sentences. PSN gives each federal district the flexibility it needs to focus on individual challenges that a specific community faces.

In addition to the prison term, Tarlton will be on three years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal court system, so Tarlton will be required to serve his entire sentence before he’s released.