NEWS

Gaston man sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison on drug charge

Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett DeHart announced today that Johnny Ray Kinsey, Jr., 46, of Gaston, was sentenced to more than twelve years in federal prison after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Federal Court – SC Administrative Law photo

Evidence presented to the court showed that on June 15, 2018, a Trooper with South Carolina Highway Patrol responded to a vehicle hit and run call. After responding to the initial hit and run call, the Trooper then met with a Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office Deputy. The Deputy had stopped a vehicle, driven by Kinsey, that matched the description of the vehicle that failed to stop during the hit and run. Before leaving the hit and run scene, the Trooper picked up two pieces of plastic from a side mirror that he believed were from the suspect’s vehicle. After arriving on scene, the Trooper observed fresh damage to the side mirror of Kinsey’s vehicle. When the Trooper placed the pieces of plastic to the damage, it fit perfectly. Kinsey was arrested for driving under the influence and hit and run. An inventory search located over 400 grams of methamphetamine in a backpack under the driver’s seat of the vehicle.  

Kinsey’s prior record includes a 1996 criminal domestic violence, a 2003 criminal domestic violence, a 2008 criminal domestic violence second offense, a 2011 damage to property, a 2013 shoplifting, a 2014 manufacturing methamphetamine, and several probation violations.

Senior United States District Judge Henry M. Herlong sentenced Kinsey to 151 months in federal prison, to be followed by a five-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), South Carolina Highway Patrol, and the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office.

The case was prosecuted as part of the 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.

Special Assistant United States Attorney Casey Rankin Smith prosecuted the case.