NEWBURYPORT – Traevon McGarity of Colorado, one of two men arrested at a local gas station in March on drug and gun charges, was sentenced to 18 months in jail Wednesday after pleading guilty to three charges. 

Kahiland Phillip, also of Colorado, and McGarity, 23, were initially charged March 17 with possession of a large-capacity firearm for a felony, possession of a large-capacity firearm, carrying a firearm without a license, selling or possessing an electric stun gun, possession of ammunition without a firearms identification card, two counts of possession of a large-capacity feeding device, improper storage of a large-capacity firearm, improper storage of a firearm, possession to distribute a Class A drug (heroin) and possession to distribute a Class D drug (marijuana).

In May, however, the most serious gun charges – possession of a large-capacity firearm for a felony and possession of a large-capacity firearm – were dropped and replaced with counts of the less-serious charge of carrying a firearm without a license. Charges of selling or possessing an electric stun gun were also dropped.

In Newburyport District Court on Wednesday, McGarity pleaded guilty to the two weapon charges and possession to distribute a Class D drug (marijuana). The remaining charges were dismissed. McGarity also agreed to forfeit $927 seized by police and later called drug proceeds by an Essex County prosecutor. 

On Nov. 1, Phillips was also sentenced to 18 months in jail after pleading guilty to the gun charges and marijuana charge. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail with 90 days deemed served. The heroin distribution charge was dismissed.

McGarity’s plea came 11 days before a jury trial was scheduled to begin. At his last court appearance Oct. 18, McGarity’s attorney, Dolores Solomon, chided the District Attorney’s Office for what she called its delay tactics and overall incompetence.

The men were arrested after Newburyport police Officers Matthew Whitty and Shawn Eaton responded to a call at 4:45 a.m. on March 17 to check on a car at the gas station. Whitty and Eaton saw two men asleep inside the car but couldn’t see them clearly because the vehicle had tinted windows.

The officers ordered the men out of the car and as they were getting out, police saw a handgun on the front seat, according to a report.

Whitty and Eaton drew their guns as McGarity and Phillips got out of the car. A quick check showed that neither man had a license to carry a firearm, so they were arrested, according to police.

During a search of the car, police said they found a duffel bag with a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun and 210 rounds of ammunition. They also seized nine grams of what was believed to be heroin, more than four pounds of marijuana in vacuum-sealed bags, a stun gun and $927 in cash, according to a police report.

To read a related story, go to www.newburyportnews.com/news/local_news/defense-attorney-chides-essex-da-s-office-for-delays/article_5c77d5f5-2fb4-5143-a567-932476633e46.html.

Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at drogers@newburyportnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.