SUBMITTED — The United States Attorney, Richard W. Moore, announces that Montrell Pettaway (pictured above), a 29-year-old resident of Mobile, Alabama was sentenced today to 57 months incarceration followed by three years of supervised release for possessing a firearm after being convicted of felony possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.

On Nov. 29, 2016, a Mobile County deputy was told by an informant that he/she has just seen Pettaway packaging, processing and storing illegal drugs at his residence in Mobile, Alabama. The informant provided the deputy with a photograph to support his/her information. Several experienced narcotics investigators (deputies) of the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office immediately began surveilling Pettaway at his residence because they sought to confirm that he was illegally distributing narcotics from that location.

Over a 30-minute period, deputies observed a high volume of vehicle traffic pull up to the residence and stay for very short periods of time. During this time, Pettaway was in and out of his residence. On occasions when Pettaway was outside, he approached the vehicles or the occupants of the vehicle exited and approached him. Each time, the contact between him and the vehicle occupants was de minimis. After the contact, the occupants reentered their vehicles and left the area.

Sometimes Pettaway was inside the residence and the occupants exited their vehicles and went inside for a few minutes then returned to their vehicles and left the area. On several occasions, Pettaway was observed going to and from his parked Chevrolet Malibu before and after the vehicles arrived at his residence. Deputies concluded that Pettaway was storing and also selling illegal drugs at his residence.

Based, in part, on their observations at Pettaway’s residence, deputies sought a warrant to search the residence. While deputies were waiting on the search warrant to be approved, Pettaway got into his Chevrolet Malibu and drove away from the residence. Deputies followed Pettaway and saw him stop the vehicle behind a house a couple of miles away. Deputies also saw another vehicle approaching and believed its occupant(s) might be attempting to buy illegal drugs from Pettaway.

Deputies approached Pettaway to investigate their belief that he was in possession of illegal narcotics. Lighting was limited so the deputies asked Pettaway to exit the vehicle. He complied. As Pettaway exited the vehicle and the vehicle’s dome light came on, deputies saw a hand gun on the floorboard of the front seat and a small amount of cocaine on the ground just outside the driver’s side door after Pettaway stepped out of the vehicle. Pettaway was arrested and $795 in U.S. currency was seized from his person incident to his arrest.

Pettaway entered a guilty plea on Sept. 29, 2017, after his motion to suppress the evidence was denied. The U. S. Department of Homeland Security/ICE special agents investigated the case along with Mobile County Sheriff’s Office deputies who presented the case to the United States Attorney’s Office for prosecution. The prosecutor assigned to the case was Assistant United States Attorney, Gina S. Vann.