DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of South Carolina

For Immediate Release

Thursday, January 14, 2016
William N. Nettles
, United States Attorney
Contact: Stacey D. Haynes

Clover Gang Member Sentenced to Over 20 Years on Federal Firearm and Drug Charges

Columbia, South Carolina---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Joseph Matthew Polk, age 24, of Clover, South Carolina was sentenced to a total of 250 months (20.8  years) imprisonment today in federal court. Last August, Polk plead guilty to possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime (to wit: possession with intent to distribute and distribution of marijuana), all in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C) and Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c).  Under the plea agreement, Polk agreed to a total sentence of 240 months (20 years) imprisonment and an appropriate term of supervised release to follow, comprised of 180 months (15 years) imprisonment on the possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine charge and 60 months (5 years) consecutive imprisonment on the firearm charge. Polk also faced a separate term of imprisonment stemming from his violation of a prior federal sentence. Polk received an additional 10 months imprisonment consecutive on that sentence. Senior United States District Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. imposed the sentences.

Evidence presented at the earlier change of plea hearing established that March 19, 2015, at his residence in Clover, South Carolina, Polk, while armed with a Harrington & Richardson .32 caliber revolver, sold a quantity of marijuana to a confidential informant.  The following day, March 20, 2015, Polk, while armed with a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun, sold a quantity of methamphetamine to a confidential informant.  Thereafter, on March 24, 2015, Polk, while armed with a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun, sold a quantity of methamphetamine to a confidential informant.  On that date, a young child was observed in the same room where the distribution occurred and while Polk waved around the 9mm handgun.  Each of the three distributions of drugs was recorded on audio and video by local law enforcement officers.  Polk was arrested on state charges on April 9, 2015, and during the arrest, officers recovered the Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun, along with gang paraphernalia, and a residue amount of methamphetamine.  After being advised of his rights, which he waived, Polk admitted to being in possession of firearms and being a dues collector for a local gang.  Polk is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and/or ammunition based upon his prior federal conviction for possession of firearm by a felon and his prior state convictions for burglary

At the time of the March 2015 offenses, Polk was on federal supervised release from a 2014 federal conviction for felon in possession of a firearm out of the Spartanburg Division.  Therefore, he also faced a revocation of his prior federal supervised release. After sentencing Polk to 240 months (20 years) imprisonment on the new charges, Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr., revoked Polk’s prior term of federal supervised release and sentenced him to an additional 10 months imprisonment, which will be served consecutive to the 240 months imprisonment. Thus, Polk will serve a total of 250 months imprisonment and then be on federal supervision for 5 years.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the York County Multi-jurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit and was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases.  Assistant United States Attorney Stacey D. Haynes of the Columbia office handled the case.


Charlotte Field Division