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Marengo County man faces 10 years for drug distribution

A Marengo County resident has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted on drug distribution charges.

Gerald “G-Money” Barber, 40, was sentenced this week to 120 months imprisonment in a crack cocaine case, according to U.S. Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama announces. Chief U.S. District Judge Kristi K. DuBose sentenced Barber.

The judge also ordered that Barber undergo eight years of supervised release after finishing his term of imprisonment, receive substance abuse testing and treatment, and pay a $200 mandatory special assessment.  Barber has five prior felony drug convictions, according to Moore.            

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 Nov. 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. On Jan. 24, 2018, a federal jury in Selma found Barber guilty on both counts. Chief Judge DuBose presided over the jury trial, which started on January 23, 2018.

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. Ferguson noticed that Barber was visibly nervous and saw traces of a green leafy substance in the vehicle. The officer 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 on the afternoon of April 12, 2017, Uniontown Chief of Police Willie Walton was on routine patrol in 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 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 testified that he saw a “crack rock” in the driver’s seat where Barber had been sitting.

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. Walton examined it and found 16 plastic baggies containing roughly 80.8 grams of crack cocaine in varying quantities. When 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.       

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 prosecuted the case.      

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, April 28 issue of the Demopolis Times.)