Contact Person: Lance Crick (864) 282-2100
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Xavier Lee Gist, age 22, of Spartanburg, pled guilty in federal court in Greenville, to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c) and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, a violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1). United States District Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks, of Charleston, accepted the plea and will impose sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that on May 19, 2016, officers with the Spartanburg Police Department observed a silver Nissan Maxima with North Carolina tags fail to signal a left hand turn. Officers initiated a traffic stop but the vehicle failed to stop. Officers were able to identify the driver as Xavier Gist by sight during the pursuit based on prior interactions with Gist. Gist jumped from the vehicle and was apprehended after a brief foot chase. Officers, with the vehicle, observed in plain sight a Smith and Wesson 9mm handgun on the passenger seat. Prior to the vehicle being towed, officers recovered a silver whisk and a set of digital scales from the center console. Approximately 4.4 grams of cocaine base (crack) was located on the street where Gist jumped from the vehicle.
Gist faces up to ten years in federal prison for the offense and remains in federal custody.
The case was investigated by the Spartanburg Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Special Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Wells, a 7th Circuit Assistant Solicitor designated by Solicitor Barry Barnette to identify and expedite state cases for federal prosecution, handled the case.
Gist was arrested federally as a part of “Operation Real Time.” The goal of this program is to identify individuals for federal prosecution with significant criminal histories who continue to actively possess firearms in the Upstate community.
In addition to the Spartanburg Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Real Time’s core partners include the Greenville Police Department, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, the Anderson City Police Department, the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services, the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the 7th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office.
Since August of 2015, the initiative has resulted in the expedited federal prosecution of some 97 defendants and seizure of approximately 130 firearms as well as assorted ammunition from prohibited persons.
U.S. Attorney Beth Drake commended the partnership between the local, state, and federal agencies that led to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the U.S. Attorney’s Office adopting the case, “We work best when we work together. This ‘real time’ identification of high risk offenders is smart policing, and we welcome the opportunity to work alongside our state chiefs and sheriffs in taking violent repeat offenders out of our communities.”