News Release
July 28, 2009
Contact: Chuvalo J. Truesdell
Number: 404-893-7124

McCormick County Men Plead Guilty to Federal Drug Charges

JUL 28 -- Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney W. Walter Wilkins stated that Bobby Michael Gilyard a/k/a “Big Mike,” entered a guilty plea on federal crack cocaine charges.  Gilyard’s co-defendant, William Sentail Houston, pled guilty to distribution of marijuana.  United States District Judge Henry M. Herlong, Jr., accepted the plea and will sentence both men after he has reviewed the pre-sentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

On May 20, 2008, McCormick County deputies and SLED agents concluded a long term drug investigation with the purchase of 96.2 grams of crack cocaine and 453 grams of marijuana from Gilyard and Houston outside of a residence in Clarks Hill.  A confidential informant with a hidden recording device purchased the drugs, allowing the law enforcement officers to monitor and record the transaction.  During the drug deal, Gilyard sent Houston to retrieve the marijuana, while Gilyard provided the crack cocaine. The informant paid for the drugs with the drugs with marked bills provided by the officers.   After the money was exchanged, agents moved in to arrest the men.  Gilyard was taken into custody after a brief foot chase, during which Gilyard threw down $1,200 of the marked bills paid for the marijuana.  Agents also recovered the $3,400 cash from Gilyard that the informant had moments earlier paid for the crack cocaine.

Wilkins stated that Gilyard, due to a previous felony drug conviction, faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years in prison, and could receive the maximum term of life imprisonment.  He also faces a fine of up to $8,000,000, followed by a 10-year term of supervised release.  Houston faces a maximum of five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a three-year term of supervised release.

The case was investigated by the McCormick County Sheriff’s Office, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Assistant United States Attorney Lance Crick of the Greenville Office handled the case.

Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at, and