For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 20, 2017
, United States Attorney
Contact: Lance Crick
“REAL TIME”: Greenville Man Sentenced as Armed Career Criminal to over 17 Years in Federal Prison
Field Division: Charlotte Field Division
Greenville, South Carolina---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Michael Lee Westbrook, age 41, of Greenville, South Carolina, was sentenced Wednesday afternoon in federal court in Greenville, for felon in possession of a firearm, a violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g). Due to his significant prior criminal history, Westbrook was classified as an Armed Career Criminal for sentencing purposes and was subject to a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison. United States District Court Judge Timothy M. Cain sentenced Westbrook to 210 months in federal prison.
Evidence presented by the government during the guilty plea at a hearing earlier this year established that on September 3, 2016, members of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) responded to a residence in Greenville in an attempt to locate and serve an arrest warrant on Westbrook. Upon their arrival, Westbrook was located in the back yard of the home and arrested. During a search incident to arrest, GCSO recovered a loaded .380 caliber pistol in Westbrook’s pants pocket.
Westbrook was arrested federally as a part of “Operation Real-Time.” The goal of this program is to identify individuals for federal prosecution with significant criminal histories who continue to actively possess firearms in the Upstate. In addition to the GCSO and the ATF, Real Time’s core partners include the Greenville Police Department, the Anderson Police Department, the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services, the South Carolina Highway Patrol, United States Probation, the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, DEA, the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, and the US Attorney’s Office. Since August of 2015, the initiative has resulted in the expedited federal prosecution of some 118 defendants and seizure of approximately 162 firearms as well as assorted ammunition from prohibited persons.
U.S. Attorney Beth Drake commended the partnership between the local, state, and federal agencies that led to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the U.S. Attorney’s Office adopting the case, “We work best when we work together. This ‘real time’ identification of high risk offenders is smart policing, and we welcome the opportunity to work alongside our state chiefs and sheriffs in taking violent repeat offenders out of our communities.”
The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office along with agents from the ATF investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Max Cauthen prosecuted the case.