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Man with long criminal history sentenced to 10 years for firearm possession

A Medford drug dealer who threw an alcoholic drink in a police officer's face before being wrestled to the ground and subdued with a stun gun during a search of his home last year was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for illegal possession of a firearm.

Dennis William Lee, 45, received the maximum sentence allowed under federal law from U.S. District Court Judge Owen Panner. A news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office said Lee also will serve three years of post-prison supervision.

The conviction stemmed from a November 2013 incident in which the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement Team served a search warrant at Lee's trailer, located in the 100 block of Washington Street. They had been investigating him as a heroin dealer for some time, keeping surveillance tabs on his trailer and purchasing heroin from him, police said.

Task force officials approached the trailer and saw Lee standing outside. Lee grabbed a woman standing next to him and shoved her in the direction of the approaching officers to give himself a running start, the news release said. As he fled, Lee collided with two other MADGE detectives who had been approaching from behind. Lee threw an alcoholic beverage in one detective's face before he was wrestled to the ground, zapped with a stun gun and arrested.

Police found a loaded 9 mm and $2,616 in cash in Lee's pocket. During a search of his trailer, they also found digital scales, an additional $6,975 in cash, drug packaging materials that reeked of heroin, a small amount of methamphetamine and a half-pound of marijuana.

Lee had recently moved to the area from Sacramento, Calif. The Department of Justice press release said Lee has a lengthy criminal history, with 40 arrests to his name, along with felony convictions stretching back to 1990. The convictions include heroin possession, methamphetamine possession, selling cocaine and receiving stolen property. Lee has also been convicted of misdemeanor assault, DOJ officials said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives helped investigate the case.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.