Gulfport Man Pleads Guilty to Drug and Firearm Charges

Published 1:24 pm Saturday, October 9, 2021

Gulfport, Miss. – A Gulfport man pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Brad L. Byerley, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”).

According to court documents and proceedings, on March 16, 2021, law enforcement officers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle being driven by Joshua Taylor, 23, in Gulfport. During the stop, officers found heroin, methamphetamine, other drugs, and, in the center console of the vehicle, a  Glock 19, 9mm handgun, loaded with 16 rounds of ammunition. Pursuant to a search warrant, officers subsequently conducted a search of Taylor’s residence where they discovered additional controlled substances.

A drug analysis indicates that Taylor possessed heroin, fentanyl, and more than 50 grams of methamphetamine.

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Taylor pleaded guilty today to possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine.  He also pleaded guilty to knowingly possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Taylor is scheduled to be sentenced on November 18, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. He faces a minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum of 40 years in prison for the methamphetamine charge.  For possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, he faces a minimum of 5 years in prison and a maximum of life, which must be served consecutively to the sentence on the methamphetamine charge.  A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Buckner is prosecuting the case.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.