FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – A Florence man has been sentenced to over 20 years in prison following a two day trial for gun and drug charges.
According to a press release from the U.S. District Attorney’s Office for S.C. Gregory Bernard Gibson, 44, of Florence was sentenced to nearly 22 years in federal prison. Gibson is charged with possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm by a felon.
The release says that during the trial evidence was presented showing that on July 27, 2018, the PACE Team was patrolling a high-crime area on the east side of Florence when Gibson’s vehicle pulled out in front of a deputy’s unmarked vehicle, failing to yield the right-of-way. The deputy initiated a traffic stop on Gibson’s car based on the traffic violation. When he approached the car, the deputy immediately smelled the odor of marijuana, and Gibson stated that he had a small, personal-use quantity of the substance in his vehicle.
Based on the smell of marijuana, deputies searched the car, according to the release. There was a loaded, .45 caliber Glock semi-automatic pistol in the center console.
Directly behind the center console and in front of a child car seat, deputies found a backpack containing distribution quantities of powder cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana; a bottle of a “cutting agent” drug dealers mix with drugs before they are sold to increase the amount the user thinks he is buying; multiple plastic baggies used to package drugs for sale; and a digital scale containing cocaine and marijuana residue.
Hidden inside a void underneath the cup holder area, deputies found a large piece of crack cocaine and 300 tablets of methamphetamine. After assimilating the large quantity of drugs and firearm evidence, the PACE team partnered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to bring the case to federal court for prosecution.
United States District Judge Mary G. Lewis of Columbia sentenced Gibson to 262 months in federal prison without parole, to be followed by a six-year term of court-ordered supervision.
“Across South Carolina, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with local law enforcement agencies to focus on the career criminals, like Mr. Gibson, who pose the greatest threat to our safety,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Crick. “We are grateful to Sheriff Barnes, the Florence County Sheriff’s Office PACE Team, and ATF for their continued efforts to reduce violent crime in our community.”
“This agency has a long and proud history of cooperation with our state and federal law enforcement partners to protect our communities from the scourge of illegal narcotics,” Sheriff Billy Barnes stated. “We deeply appreciate the splendid efforts of the ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to help us remove dangerous criminals from our streets.”