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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Alabama

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Large-Scale Birmingham Cocaine Dealer Gets 23-Year Federal Prison Sentence

BIRMINGHAM -- A federal judge today sentenced a Birmingham man to more than 23 years in prison for his role in a large-scale cocaine trafficking conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Charge Clay A. Morris.

U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor sentenced ARTAVIS “Tav” DESMOND MCGOWAN, 41, to 23 years and four months in federal prison for conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute, and distributing cocaine.

A federal jury convicted McGowan on the charges in November 2013, following a six-day trial. The judge found that McGowan had been involved in trafficking at least 15 to 50 kilograms, or 33 to 110 pounds, of cocaine.

"McGowan and his conspirators were prime movers of dangerous and illegal drugs in our community," Vance said. "They enriched themselves, while tearing apart neighborhoods and lives with the violence, death and addiction that accompany drug-trafficking and drug abuse. Today's sentence takes a major dealer off the streets for 23 years," she said.

"McGowan was a leader in a large-scale drug-trafficking organization that sold dangerous drugs in our community," Morris said. "This sentence should send a clear message to all drug traffickers that their actions will not be tolerated. Our job in law enforcement is to make the community safer by taking dangerous criminals off the streets. Our state and local counterparts joined the DEA and the U.S. Attorney's Office in devoting tireless energy to investigating and bringing McGowan to justice."
On Oct. 5, 2011, DEA agents seized six bricks of cocaine and other drugs, including large amounts of heroin, from a home at 1156 Skyline Drive in Birmingham.  Agents also seized $341,679 in cash from the house. McGowan and his confederates used the home as a “stash” house where they removed cocaine from drug “load” vehicles driven from Austin, Texas, to Birmingham. The basement of the home also was used to process drugs and money.

Evidence at trial also showed McGowan’s fingerprints were found on two of the 46 kilogram wrappers found in the trash in the basement of the Skyline Drive home. In May of this year, DEA agents executed a search warrant at 108 Page Ave. in Birmingham and found McGowan with more than $61,000 in cash.

The DEA investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory R. Dimler prosecuted.

Updated March 19, 2015