Mobile Man Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison for Possessing and Firing an Illegal Machinegun During New Year’s Eve Celebrations
United States Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama announces today that a federal jury in Selma, Alabama found Gerald Barber, 40, a resident of Marengo County, Alabama, guilty of two counts of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. Chief United States District Judge Kristi K. DuBose presided over the trial, which started on January 23, 2018 and ended the following day. The judge scheduled Barber’s sentencing for April 12, 2018. Barber, aka “G-Money,” faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. He has five prior felony drug convictions.
On August 31, 2017, a federal grand jury for the Southern District of Alabama indicted Barber on one count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. On November 28, 2017, a federal grand jury for the district returned a superseding indictment against Barber, charging him with two counts of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.
At trial, the jury heard evidence that in the early morning of March 11, 2017, Barber was driving a white 2002 Chevrolet Blazer in Camden, Alabama when Camden Police Officer John Ferguson pulled the vehicle over for speeding and having no tag light. Barber had no identification, proof of insurance, license, or registration. He lied to the officer about his identity. Officer Ferguson noticed that Barber was visibly nervous and saw traces of a green leafy substance in the vehicle. Officer Ferguson called for backup, patted down Barber outside the Chevrolet Blazer for officer safety and possible narcotics, and found an “eight-ball” of crack cocaine concealed underneath Barber’s shorts. Officer Ferguson arrested Barber and transported him to the Prince Arnold Detention Center in Wilcox County. At the jail, the defendant falsely identified himself and signed a waiver of counsel form in his brother’s name.
The jury also heard evidence that in the afternoon of April 12, 2017, Uniontown Chief of Police Willie Walton was on routine patrol in Uniontown, Alabama when he saw an individual standing by the driver’s side window of a white Chevrolet Blazer on Johnson Street. Chief Walton testified that he recognized the individual as a crack cocaine addict and was suspicious of a drug sale between the individual and the vehicle’s driver. Barber was driving the same Chevrolet Blazer. A passenger was also inside. As Chief Walton approached, the individual ran away and the Chevrolet Blazer sped off. Chief Walton activated his lights and sirens and tried to stop the vehicle, which had an expired tag.
A high-speed chase ensued, which at times reached 70 - 80 miles per hour. During the chase, Chief Walton saw an unidentified object (never recovered) thrown out the vehicle’s driver’s side window on Washington Street. Barber tried to evade Chief Walton by racing up Martin Luther King Drive in a residential area where children were playing. As Chief Walton pursued, Barber made a left turn onto Lucian Street and threw approximately $8,000 worth of crack cocaine out the driver’s side window. The narcotics landed on the front lawn of a home on Lucian Street. Chief Walton continued to pursue the fleeing vehicle and radioed dispatch. Uniontown Police Department Sergeant Nash Gipson responded and set up a roadblock. Barber almost collided with Sgt. Gipson. The chase ended shortly thereafter on Franklin Street.
Chief Walton and Sgt. Gipson arrested Barber outside his vehicle. Chief Walton testified that he saw a “crack rock” in the driver’s seat where Barber had been sitting and that Barber shouted an expletive upon his arrest, yelling, “I’ve got more money than all y’all m*****f****** out there!” Chief Walton also told the jury that Barber appeared high, his mouth was foaming, and pieces of crack cocaine appeared to be in his mouth.
The passenger, whom the police had detained for officer safety, said that Barber threw a black bag out of the vehicle during the chase. With the passenger’s help, police found the bag at Lucian Street. Chief Walton examined it and found sixteen plastic baggies containing roughly 80.8 grams of crack cocaine in varying quantities. When Chief Walton later searched Barber’s Chevrolet Blazer, he found two digital scales, two Pyrex measuring glasses, one Toastmaster hand mixer, and two mixer attachments, all containing cocaine residue.
After the jury’s verdict, United States Attorney Richard W. Moore said, “We will continue to aggressively prosecute drug dealers who threaten the safety of our citizens in this district. The illegal drug trade in the northern part of our district is an affront to the residents of the communities where defendant Gerald Barber plied his trade. The actions taken by our law enforcement partners in this case demonstrate the professionalism and vigor with which we intend to address drug trafficking in our district. Our prosecutors, Sinan Kalayoglu and George F. May, were pleased to assist our law enforcement partners in this prosecution and particularly to have had the opportunity to present our case to a local jury in the historic Selma courthouse. We are very proud of their representation of the United States in this case.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration, the Uniontown Police Department, and the Camden Police Department investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorneys Sinan Kalayoglu and George F. May are prosecuting the case.