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Gambill sentenced on firearms charge

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Convicted armed robber was in possession of an illegal gun.

By Brian Funk, Editor

ABINGDON — A 42-year-old Galax man will serve more than six years in federal prison on a gun charge.
Joe Jackson Gambill was indicted by a federal grand jury in April 2010 for possession of a firearm as a convicted felon.
The charge arose from a traffic stop and sobriety check in August 2009.
Gambill was found guilty by a jury in U.S. District Court in Abingdon in August 2010, and he was sentenced Dec. 28, 2010, to serve 78 months in prison at a facility in Beckley, W.Va.
Gambill was charged after a DUI traffic stop by Galax Police Department Officer Jody Poole.
The officer stopped a 1978 Ford pickup on Meadow Street in Galax, and Poole noticed a strong odor of alcohol on Gambill, the criminal complaint stated.
According to testimony at Gambill's trial, while Poole conducted a records check, he observed an SUV pull up to the scene. Gambill's wife got out and approached the Ford pickup.
The officer watched as Gambill handed “a wadded-up blanket" out of the vehicle to his wife.
After Poole asked to see the blanket, he found wrapped inside a loaded .25 caliber pistol, identified by court records as a Raven Arms model MP-25.
Gambill was charged under a federal law that prohibits someone convicted of a felony to have a firearm. Poole also charged him with carrying a concealed weapon, DUI (second offense) and driving on a suspended license.
Gambill was previously convicted of three felonies — armed robbery in 1988, breaking and entering in 1993 and accommodating the distribution of a Schedule II drug in 1997. He was on probation at the time of his arrest in 2009.
According to evidence presented at the trial, a witness interviewed by Galax police revealed that the Raven Arms pistol was not the only firearm that Gambill illegally owned.
The former co-worker said Gambill showed him a 9 mm pistol with pearl grips, and that Gambill offered to sell him a Mossberg .410 gauge shotgun, a .20 gauge shotgun, a few high-powered rifles and some pistols.
The witness' statement said that Gambill told him that he “never went anywhere without a gun.”