Palm Beach County Resident Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Firearm and Drug Offenses
Gerald Petion, 33, of Delray Beach, was sentenced by United States District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg to 240 months in federal prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release for being an armed career criminal in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Peter J. Forcelli, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Ric L. Bradshaw, Sheriff, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO), and Jeffrey S. Goldman, Chief, Delray Beach Police Department (DBPD), made the announcement.
Petion was prosecuted under the federal Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), which provides for an enhanced sentence for persons with at least three prior felony convictions for violent felonies or serious drug trafficking crimes.
According to court documents, on March 14, 2016, DBPD Officers responded to a heroin overdose in the City of Delray Beach. The victim, who was in extreme respiratory distress, survived the incident, and once revived, cooperated with law enforcement officials. Petion was identified as the street level heroin dealer and DBPD initiated a narcotics investigation. After multiple undercover purchases of heroin, DBPD obtained an arrest warrant for Petion for two counts of sale of heroin within 1,000 feet of a park.
On April 15, 2016, DBPD Officers located Petion. Petion refused to surrender and instead fled from the scene on foot. As Petion fled he dropped a fully loaded FN Herstal, Model Five-seveN, 5.7 x 28 mm, semi-automatic pistol.
On April 24, 2016, DBPD Officers located Petion and after a brief standoff, he surrendered to the officers. Petion was arrested for his outstanding felony warrants.
Prior to his commission of both offenses, Petion had three separate prior felony convictions for aggravated battery, one prior felony conviction for trafficking in cocaine, and one prior felony conviction for delivery of Oxycodone within a 1,000 feet of a school. As a consequence, Petion was subject to the enhanced sentencing provisions of ACCA.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the anti-gang, anti-gun violence initiative of the United States Department of Justice. This program emphasizes and facilitates cooperative federal, state and local prosecution of firearm crimes, violent criminals, repeat violent offenders and gang related criminal activity.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of ATF, PBSO, and DBPD. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John C. McMillan.