A Jasper County resident was sentenced to 27 years in prison today after jurors convicted him of his fourth drug offense in six years.
At the conclusion of a two-day trial, Phillip Monroe, 35, who had been living in the Mitchellville community of Jasper County but is from Georgia, was found guilty of trafficking cocaine and possession of a controlled substance.
Monroe was arrested in April when Ridgeland police officers pulled him over on Logan Street. According to testimony, Monroe threw a bag containing approximately 28 grams of cocaine, a large quantity of pills and a small amount of marijuana onto a passenger’s lap and threatened to kill his family if he did not claim ownership of the drugs.
The passenger, who had no prior record, later told police what had happened. Monroe eventually admitted the drugs were his and that he had planned to cook the powder cocaine in order to turn it into crack-cocaine, according to a news release from the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office.
"Mr. Monroe made his living dealing drugs and, in this case, tried to threaten his way out of being charged," said assistant solicitor Carra Henderson, a career criminal prosecutor based in Jasper County. "He is a dangerous man who is no longer a threat to our community."
Jurors took 30 minutes to convict Monroe, who had prior convictions dating back to 1997 that included robbery, battery, cruelty to children, obstruction of justice, criminal damage to property and seven drug offenses, according to the release.
Because of Monroe’s past convictions -- which all occurred in the Savannah-area -- he faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years. Judge Perry M. Buckner handed down the sentence.