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ASHEVILLE, N.C. – U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced Mitchell Gilliland, 30, of Nebo, N.C., today to 148 months in prison, announced R. Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.  Judge Reidinger also ordered Gilliland to serve five years under court supervision.

Joining U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement are Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in North Carolina; Sheriff Ricky Buchanan of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office; and Police Chief Allen Lawrence of the Marion Police Department.

According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, on the evening of May 9, 2019, an officer with the Marion Police Department conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle Gilliland was driving for driving over the speed limit and other traffic violations. Over the course of the traffic stop, law enforcement conducted a search of Gilliland’s vehicle, and recovered a half pound of methamphetamine, a loaded firearm, and more than $34,000 in drug proceeds. Gilliland has multiple prior felony convictions and he is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition.

On October 22, 2019, Gilliland pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.  He is currently in fedaral custody. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole. 

The investigation was handled by the HSI, the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office, and the Marion Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Kent of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville, prosecuted the case.

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