Jury finds Marengo County man guilty in drug case

Published 10:45 am Tuesday, February 6, 2018

United States Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama has announced that a federal jury in Selma found Gerald “G-Money” Barber, 40, a resident of Marengo County, guilty of two counts of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. 

Chief U.S. District Judge Kristi K. DuBose presided over the trial. The judge scheduled Barber’s sentencing for April 12, 2018 in Mobile. Barber faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 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 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.

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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, according to officials. Ferguson said he 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. Ferguson arrested Barber and transported him to the Prince Arnold Detention Center in Wilcox County. 

The jury also heard evidence that in the afternoon of April 12, 2017, Uniontown Chief of Police Willie Walton was on routine patrol 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 transaction between the individual and the vehicle’s driver. Barber was driving the Chevrolet Blazer. A passenger was also inside. As Walton approached, the individual ran away and the Chevrolet Blazer sped off.

A high-speed chase ensued during which Chief Walton said he saw an unidentified object (never recovered) thrown out the vehicle’s driver’s side window on Washington Street. Barber tried to evade Walton by racing up ML 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 514 Lucian St.  Chief Walton continued to pursue the fleeing vehicle and radioed dispatch. Uniontown Police Officer Nash Gipson responded and set up a roadblock. 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 said that Barber threw a black plastic bag out of the vehicle during the chase.  Police found the black bag on Lucian Street and found it contained 16 plastic baggies of about 80.8 grams of crack cocaine in varying quantities. When Barber’s vehicle was searched, two digital scales, two Pyrex measuring glasses, one toastmaster hand mixer, and two mixer attachments, all containing cocaine residue, were found.    

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 Wednesday, January 31 issue of the Demopolis Times.)