McDowell Co. man sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for drug trafficking


(McDowell Co. Sheriff’s Office)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – A McDowell County man has been sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for drug trafficking.

On Thursday, Mitchell Gilliland, 30, of Nebo, was sentenced to 148 months in prison, announced R. Andrew Murray, U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Gilliland was also ordered to serve five years under court supervision.  

According to filed court documents and Thursday’s sentencing hearing, on May 9, 2019, an officer with the Marion Police Department conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle Gilliland was operating 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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