DOJ – East NC

DOJ - Department of Justice
DOJ - Department of Justice
  • Federal Charges and Arrest Announced of a Raleigh Man Who Allegedly Defrauded Elderly Fayetteville Woman Through Mail and Wire Frauds
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces the arrest after a federal grand jury sitting in Raleigh previously returned an indictment charging FURMAN ALEXANDER FORD, 49, of Raleigh with eleven counts each of Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud.  Between August 2014 and December 2014, FORD allegedly committed Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud based on the defendant’s scheme to submit fraudulent withdrawal letters on behalf of an elderly victim to New York Life Insurance (NYL) for payments totaling $246,000.  FORD worked as a financial advisor for NYL. In 2009, the victim inherited real property valued at $1.3 million from a relative in Fayetteville, NC.  After the estate was settled, FORD assisted the victim in setting-up a charitable trust with NYL using the inheritance proceeds.   He worked as an insurance and financial agent at NYL from 2012 to 2015, and met the victim through a mutual friend.  The charitable trust agreement provided an annuity payment in the amount of $6,000 per month to victim during her lifetime.  As part of FORD’s responsibility as a financial agent, he drafted and submitted authorized letters of withdrawal from the victim’s trust account to pay certain expenses.  Under NYL customer service guidelines, the financial agent is required to have the client sign the letter with “wet ink” before submitting to NYL via the mail.  The funds would then be electronically wired to the recipient as directed by the client with their full knowledge and consent. During ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-22
    1 day ago
  • Wilmington Man Convicted of Distributing Crack Cocaine and Possessing a Gun Receives 9 Years in Federal Prison
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces today that Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced ANDREA BLOODWORTH, 57, of New Hanover County to 108 months’ imprisonment, followed by 4 years of supervised release.    On January 17, 2019, BLOODWORTH who was on supervised release for a previous federal conviction of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 28 grams or more of crack cocaine and a quantity of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine base and cocaine, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  BLOODWORTH also admitted to violating conditions of federal supervised release, which was a factor considered in the sentence imposed by the Court.  On January 9, 2018, BLOODWORTH fled from New Hanover County Sheriff’s Vice Detectives as they attempted to make a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by BLOODWORTH,  following what they observed to be a drug transaction in the Wal-Mart parking lot on Sigmund Road in Wilmington.    BLOODWORTH fled from officers, but was eventually stopped.  Further investigation revealed that, while attempting to flee, BLOODWORTH told a passenger to conceal individual baggies of crack cocaine in a pill bottle, which the passenger did.      On May 17, 2018, the Wilmington Police Department and the FBI Safe Streets Unit executed a search warrant at BLOODWORTH’s residence on Manley Avenue in Wilmington North Carolina.  Law ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-17
    6 days ago
  • Raleigh Man Sentenced for Firearms Offense
    RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced jeremy hough, 35, of Raleigh, North Carolina to 78  months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release. HOUGH was named in an Indictment filed on September 11, 2018, charging him with felon in possession of a firearm.  On December 3, 2018, HOUGH pled guilty to the charge.  On May 8, 2018, Raleigh Police Department officers attempted to arrest HOUGH on an outstanding warrant. When they approached HOUGH, he fled, throwing a 9mm firearm into bushes.  Officers caught and arrested HOUGH and recovered the firearm.   Investigation of this case was conducted by the Raleigh Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).  Assistant Unite States Attorney Erin Blondel represented the government. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-17
    6 days ago
  • Mebane Man Sentenced to 21 Years for Cocaine Conspiracy
    RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced LASHUN TRACY TINNEN, 37, of Mebane, North Carolina to 262 months imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised release. The prosecution of TINNEN was a part of an  Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force Operation (OCDETF), which has focused on cocaine and cocaine base (crack) distributors in Nash, Edgecombe, and  Halifax counties. TINNEN was named in a two-count Indictment filed on August 1, 2018 charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute five (5) kilograms or more of cocaine from December 2013 until May 10, 2018; and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine.  On November 5, 2018, TINNEN pled guilty to both charges.    United States Attorney Higdon stated, “Drug traffickers like TINNEN threaten our communities with deadly controlled substances.  The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to taking back North Carolina from the violent criminals and drug traffickers, like TINNEN, that are plaguing the Eastern District of North Carolina.  In addition, we stand ready to aggressively pursue those who would commit violent acts against our law enforcement officers, because it is imperative that we protect those who protect us.” Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division commented on the case, “Those involved in drug trafficking deliver deadly doses of poison to the community. DEA’s job is to protect the community from the scourge ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-17
    6 days ago
  • Convicted Felon Who Stole Four Firearms from Elizabeth City Resident Sentenced to 6 Years in Federal Prison
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces today that Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced EARL WALLACE JEFFERS, III, 28, of Elizabeth City to 72 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised released On January 17, 2019, JEFFERS pled guilty to possession of firearms by a convicted felon and possession of stolen firearms.  On January 30, 2018, an Elizabeth City resident reported to the Elizabeth City Police Department (ECPD) that a breaking and entering had occurred at his home with several items missing, including four firearms.  The next day on January 31, 2018, another Elizabeth City resident contacted ECPD regarding three firearms he purchased from JEFFERS to inquire if they had been stolen.  Police confirmed that the three firearms were those stolen from the homeowner the day before.  The fourth firearm was never recovered.  Surveillance footage from a nearby business captures JEFFERS in the vicinity of the residence before, during, and after the breaking and entering.  JEFFERS is a convicted felon and was therefore prohibited from possessing firearms.     This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  Since 2017 the United States Department of Justice has reinvigorated the PSN program and has targeted violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-17
    6 days ago
  • Cuban and Venezuelan Men Sentenced for Aggravated Identity Theft and Access Device Fraud
    RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced DIEGO AROSTEGUI, JR, 23, of Cuba and WALTER CORREA-CISNEROS, 32, of Venezuelan to 33 months imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release and ordered them to pay $19,966.00 in restitution.    AROSTEGUI was named in a two-count Criminal Information filed on October 10, 2018.  CORREA-CISNEROS was named in a two-count Criminal Information filed on October 23, 2018.  Both men pled guilty to one-count of Access Device Fraud and Aiding and Abetting and one-count of Aggravated Identity Fraud and Aiding and Abetting.  AROSTEGUI was sentenced on April 17, 2019 and CORREA-CISNEROS was sentenced on April 2, 2019. In March 2018, the Wilmington Police Department (WPD) was alerted by investigators with the State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) fraud division of ongoing fraudulent debit/credit card withdrawals being made from member accounts at various automated teller machines (ATMs) in the Wilmington area.  On March 5, 2018, the United States Secret Service (USSS) was notified by the SECU and the WPD that three individuals were attempting to illegally withdraw money from an SECU ATM located on Wrightsville Avenue in Wilmington.  Officers responded to that location and conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle being driven by CORREA-CISNEROSAROSTEGUI and another person were passengers in the car.  A search of the vehicle revealed approximately $9,319 in United States currency, numerous debit/credit cards, computers, digital storage media, and two debit/credit card readers/encoders. Investigators with the SECU’s ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-17
    6 days ago
  • Two Sentenced for String of Lumberton Area Robberies
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced TYRA MAKAVA WATSON, 19, of Lumberton to 144 months’ imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised released, and BOBBY PRESTON MCNAIR, 26, of Lumberton to 184 months’ imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised released. On January 16, 2019, WATSON pled guilty to five counts of Hobbs Act robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.  On December 12, 2018, MCNAIR, pled guilty to four counts of Hobbs Act robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.  On October 30, 2017, WATSON and MCNAIR, robbed the Minuteman Gas Station in St. Pauls, NC, followed by the robbery of the Family Dollar store on Norment Road in Lumberton.  On November 2, 2017, the two then robbed the Family Dollar store on Roberts Avenue in Lumberton, and on November 4, 2017, they robbed the Family Dollar store on East 5th Street in Lumberton.  Lastly, WATSON robbed the Dollar General store on Canton Road in Lumberton.  On each occasion, either WATSON or MCNAIR, brandished a firearm and took money from the business.  This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  Since 2017 the United States Department of Justice has reinvigorated the PSN program and has ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-16
    1 week ago
  • Wilmington Man Who Supplied Cocaine to Bloods Street Gang Sentenced to 6 1/2 Years in Federal Prison
    RALEIGH - The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that United States District Judge James C. Dever III, sentenced Rufus Lamar Parker, 28, of Wilmington to 78 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release.  On July 9, 2018, PARKER pled guilty to six counts of distributing powder cocaine.  He pled guilty to an additional count charging conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine on November 30, 2018.  PARKER was the fifth of six co-defendants to be sentenced in this case.  Four co-defendants have previously received sentences ranging from 60 to 240 months: On May 23, 2018, Eugene Telphia Grady, Jr., was sentenced to 60 months’ imprisonment and 6 years of supervised release, following his guilty plea to a charge of conspiring to distribute crack cocaine.  On October 3, 2018, James Flowers was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment and 5 years of supervised release, following a guilty plea to conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess cocaine and 28 grams of more of crack cocaine; manufacture, distribution, and possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of crack cocaine; and use and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. On October 3, 2018, Sylvester Lorenzo Hooper, Jr., was sentenced to 204 months’ imprisonment and 8 years of supervised release, following his guilty plea to conspiring to distribute 28 grams or more of crack cocaine; possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; and distribution ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-16
    1 week ago
  • Alien Sentenced to Active Prison Time for Unlawful Voting in the 2016 General Election
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that GUADALUPE ESPINOSA-PENA, age 61, of Mexico, residing in Wake County, North Carolina, was sentenced to one month imprisonment and one year supervised release by United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan after a guilty plea to illegal voting by an alien. According to court records, ESPINOSA-PENA is a lawful permanent resident whose application for United States citizenship had been denied. ESPINOSA-PENA attempted to register to vote in North Carolina previously, but was informed he could not register as he was not a United States citizen. Thereafter, ESPINOSA-PENA nonetheless completed a voter registration with an election official’s aid and registered to vote.  The election official advised ESPINOSA-PENA that “if he wanted his voice to be heard, he needed to vote.”  As detailed in the Indictment, ESPINOSA-PENA voted in the General Election of 2016 in Wake County, North Carolina held in part for the purpose of electing a candidate for the office of President of the United States. The case was investigated under the framework of the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF) in the Eastern District of North Carolina led by Homeland Security Investigations, among other agencies. The investigation as to voting fraud is ongoing. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-14
    1 week ago
  • Sanford Man Sentenced to 54 Months for Illegally Possessing a Firearm and Ammunition
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that United States District Judge James C. Dever, III sentenced MARQUIS ANTIONE BARNES, 20, of Sanford to 54 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised released. On November 7, 2018, BARNES was named in a one-count Indictment charging him with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.  On January 7, 2019, BARNERS pled guilty to the charge.  On September 5, 2018, during an investigation into a case involving stolen firearms and drug distribution, the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) obtained permission to search a telephone of an individual.  During the search, a video with the name of “Marquis 919” was located.  In this video, the male, identified as BARNES, was seen with a Glock semi-automatic handgun, which contained an extended magazine.  Another video located showed BARNES sleeping with a Glock with an extended magazine located near him.  The weapon appeared to be the same weapon in both videos. On September 8, 2018, a deputy with the HSCO conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle.  When the deputy approached the vehicle, an odor of marijuana was detected.  BARNES was in the front passenger seat and an unidentified passenger was in the back seat.  All three individuals were removed from the vehicle and, after searching the vehicle, the deputy seized a small bag of marijuana.  At that time, the deputy conducted a search of the occupants to determine if they had any ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-14
    1 week ago
  • Dunn Man Sentenced to 12 Years for Drug Trafficking and Firearm Offense
    RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced ERNEST TERRELL MCKOY, 31, of Dunn, NC, to 144 months imprisonment, followed by 5 years supervised release.  MCKOY was named in a three-count Superseding Indictment filed on November 7, 2018.  On January 3, 2019, MCKOY pled guilty to Distribution of a Quantity of Methamphetamine and to Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime. On November 6, 2017, investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) utilized a confidential informant to purchase an unspecified amount of methamphetamine (meth) from MCKOY at his residence in Dunn, North Carolina.  On July 3, 2018, deputies with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by MCKOY.  A search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure of a stolen Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol, ammunition, and a large capacity magazine in a bag behind the front passenger seat.  Investigation determined that the firearm was reported stolen in Johnston County on September 2, 2017. On September 7, 2018, MCKOY was arrested federally for possessing a firearm on July 3, 2018.  Subsequent to his arrest, MCKOY provided a statement to investigators during which he admitted to selling 85.05 grams of crystal meth every other day for about eight or nine months.  MCKOY also admitted to purchasing 7.0875 grams of heroin six times (42.53 grams of heroin).  MCKOY stated that he possessed the ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-10
    2 weeks ago
  • Oxford Man Sentenced to 60 Months for Illegally Possessing a Firearm and Ammunition
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced MAURICE SHAWAYNE HARRIS, a/k/a “Gator”, 38, of Oxford to 60 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised released. On January 2, 2019, HARRIS pled guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon.  In January 2018, the Oxford Police Department attempted to make a traffic stop of a vehicle occupied by HARRIS, to investigate a report of shots fired in the area.  HARRIS jumped and ran from the vehicle.  Inside of that vehicle officers recovered a box of .38 caliber ammunition.  Officers traced HARRIS’s flight path and recovered a Taurus model .38 caliber revolver.  HARRIS was later arrested by the Oxford Police Department.     This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  Since 2017 the United States Department of Justice has reinvigorated the PSN program and has targeted violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.  This case is also part of the Take Back North Carolina Initiative of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.  This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-10
    2 weeks ago
  • Woman Sentenced to 86 Months for Methamphetamine Drug Conspiracy
    NEW BERN – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced KRISTEN RENE LITTLE, 24, of Angier, North Carolina to 86 months imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised release. The prosecution of LITTLE was a part of an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force Operation (OCDETF), which has focused on methamphetamine manufacturers and distributors in Wilson and Wayne counties. LITTLE was named in a seven-count Indictment filed on February 28, 2018 charging her with conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, dispense and possess with the intent to distribute fifty (50) grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine from March 2013 until June 13, 2015; possession of equipment, chemicals, products and materials with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine; and possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.  On July 25, 2018, LITTLE pled guilty to the conspiracy charge.    According to the investigation, LITTLE was a part of a drug trafficking organization that manufactured and distributed methamphetamine in Wayne County, North Carolina.  LITTLE utilized at least five other people to purchase pseudoephedrine on her behalf.  Pseudoephedrine is one of the main ingredients utilized in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.  On June 13, 2015, officers located LITTLE in Vinton, Louisiana with syringes in the vehicle as well as a bottle in the process of manufacturing methamphetamine.  LITTLE’s manufacturing of methamphetamine created a substantial risk of harm to human life or the environment. This ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-09
    2 weeks ago
  • Lumberton Man Sentenced to More Than 31 Years in Prison for Carjacking and Firearm Offenses
    RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today, United States District Judge James C. Dever, III sentenced DARRICK LAMORRIS MCKENZIE, 39, of Lumberton, to 379 months imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release and ordered to pay $9,500.00 in restitution.  MCKENZIE was named in an eight-count Indictment filed on March 28, 2018.  On November 19, 2018, MCKENZIE pled guilty to two-counts of Carjacking and two-counts of Brandishing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence. On March 14, 2017, MCKENZIE robbed MSI (Packer Sanitation) located at 1312-B East 5th Street in Lumberton.  Specifically, MCKENZIE entered MSI and approached the victim employee, who was seated at her desk. MCKENZIE pulled out a gun and pointed it at her stating, “Give me all you got.”  The victim employee told him she did not have any money, but she gave him her debit card and car keys. MCKENZIE then stole two laptop computers and two televisions from the business, and ordered the victim employee to lay down on the floor in front of the window with her hands behind her head, stating that he can see her if she moves.  The victim employee stated MCKENZIE then went outside and placed the stolen items in her vehicle.  MCKENZIE then returned to the business, locked the door behind him, and brutally raped her, while putting her into a choke hold.  Further investigation revealed that MCKENZIE used the victim’s debit card by ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-09
    2 weeks ago
  • Sampson County Meth Dealer Received Eight and Half Years in Federal Prison
    RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced ERIC HERNANDEZ, 24, of Sampson County to 102 months’ imprisonment, followed by 4 years of supervised release.   On November 19, 2018, HERNANDEZ pled guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute 50 grams or more of Methamphetamine and 2 counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute a Quantity of Methamphetamine. On January 7, 2015, Sampson County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a drive-by shooting at a residence in Garland North Carolina.  Law enforcement searched a residence associated with the victim and found HERNANDEZ present inside the house.  Law enforcement found a jar containing an ounce of methamphetamine in an air vent and a handgun near the back door.  HERNANDEZ’S fingerprints were on the jar. On February 15, 2018, a Sampson County Sheriff’s Deputy conducted a traffic stop on a car being driven by HERNANDEZ.  The deputy searched the car after he smelled an odor of marijuana.  A search of the trunk uncovered more than an ounce of methamphetamine.  Law enforcement conducted a search of HERNANDEZ’S residence in Sampson County.  An ounce of methamphetamine was found in a shed and more than $3,500 was located in HERNANDEZ’S bedroom.   HERNANDEZ was on supervised release by the state for Discharging a Weapon into an Occupied Property and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon at the time of this arrest. This case is part of an extensive investigation by a DEA led ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-09
    2 weeks ago
  • Sex, Money, Murder Gang Members and Associates Sentenced for Drug Conspiracy
    NEW BERN – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced markell desetten wiggins, also known as “Kell,” 33, of Scotland Neck, North Carolina to 86 months imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised release. WIGGINS was the last of seven members and associates of the Sex, Money, Murder (SMM) Scotland Neck-area United Blood Nation street gang to be sentenced in a drug conspiracy spanning from 2012 to June 27, 2017.  The seven members were named in a fifteen-count indictment filed on June 27, 2017 charging them with conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute heroin; distribution and possession with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin, and aiding and abetting; possession with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin; distribution of a quantity of heroin; and felon in possession of a firearm. WIGGINS was charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one hundred grams or more of heroin and pled guilty to such charge on February 13, 2018.  WIGGINS received sentencing enhancements as a leader in the conspiracy and for obstruction of justice by using someone under the age of 18 years old to assist in avoiding detection or apprehension.  BO’NEKA SARELL McDANIEL, 29, of Scotland Neck, North Carolina, was charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one hundred grams or more of heroin.  McDANIEL pled guilty to that charge on ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-09
    2 weeks ago
  • Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Warren County, North Carolina, Board of Education to Enforce The USERRA Rights of a United States Army Reservist
    RALEIGH – The Department of Justice announced that it filed a complaint today in federal court against the Warren County, North Carolina, Board of Education (Warren County), to protect rights guaranteed to an Army Reservist, Command Sergeant Major Dwayne Coffer (CSM Coffer), by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).  The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. of the Eastern District of North Carolina. CSM Coffer’s job as Dean of Students at Warren County Middle School was eliminated while he was on active duty.  According to the lawsuit, Warren County violated USERRA by demoting him to Physical Education Teacher at Northside Elementary School instead of reemploying him in job that is comparable to Dean of Students.     “The freedoms we enjoy as Americans are dependent on the selfless duties performed by members of our Armed Forces,” said Dreiband.  “When our Country calls servicemembers to duty, its laws, enforced by the Department of Justice, protect their civilian jobs.” Higdon explained, “The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act protects the brave men and women who serve our Country, and the Department of Justice is committed to enforcing USERRA when it is violated.  Members of the Army Reserve, like Sergeant Major Dwayne Coffer, are often called away from their civilian jobs in order to provide the security upon which our nation depends.  They should not have to fear losing their jobs when they answer ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-09
    2 weeks ago
  • Cary Man Sentenced to Prison for Cocaine Distribution and Firearm Offenses
    NEW BERN – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today in federal court, United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced GUSTAVO ADOLFO RAMOS LEMUS, 32, of Cary, North Carolina, to 70 months in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release. On December 11, 2018, LEMUS pled guilty to Possession with the Intent to Distribute a Quantity of Cocaine and to Using, Carrying, and Possessing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Offense. The investigation revealed that on January 20, 2015, a confidential informant (CI) working with the Cary Police Department (CPD) contacted LEMUS and attempted to arrange for the purchase of 2 ounces of cocaine.  On January 21, 2015, the CI called LEMUS again and arranged for the purchase of the 2 ounces of cocaine in exchange for $1,900, to occur in a parking lot in Cary.  Approximately 30 minutes later, LEMUS arrived at the parking lot and entered the front passenger seat of the CI’s vehicle.  The CPD’S Emergency Response Team moved in, and LEMUS tossed a stolen .40 caliber Taurus handgun into the middle row of seats. He was taken into custody without incident.  A search of LEMUS’s person revealed a quantity of cocaine in his jacket pocket.  A search warrant was executed at LEMUS’ residence on Niles Street in Cary where investigators discovered digital scales, an additional quantity of cocaine, and $2,000 in U.S. currency. This case was brought using the Take Back ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-08
    2 weeks ago
  • Rocky Mount Man Sentenced for Heroin Distribution
    GREENVILLE – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, Senior United States District Judge Malcolm J. Howard sentenced ANTHONY DEFORREST TYREE, 35, of Rocky Mount, North Carolina to 24 months imprisonment, followed by 6 years of supervised release. TYREE was named in a five-count Indictment filed on May 8, 2018 charging him with distribution of a quantity of heroin, and aiding and abetting; three counts of distribution of a quantity of heroin; and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  On January 7, 2019, TYREE pled guilty to the distribution of a quantity of heroin.    According to the investigation, the Nash County Sheriff’s Office utilized a confidential informant to make several buys of heroin from TYREE in Rocky Mount.  On March 28, 2018, TYREE possessed 28 individual bags of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl.  At the time of the offense, TYREE was on supervised release resulting from a 2017 federal conviction for conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  After TYREE admitted to the criminal activity, his term of supervised release was revoked and he was sentenced to an additional 12 months’ imprisonment to be served at the conclusion of his sentence for distribution of heroin. This case is part of the United States Attorney’s Office’s Take Back North Carolina Initiative.  This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-08
    2 weeks ago
  • Justice Department Observes National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with Events Throughout the Country
    RALEIGH – In observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 7-13, 2019, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina will host a National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Ceremony on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ Archives and History/State Library Building, located at 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.  This event is open to the public.  For more information, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-ednc/crime-victims-rights-week-2019. This year’s event will feature a gripping presentation by victims of federal crimes impacted by the opioid epidemic.  The keynote speakers, Ms. Jennifer Powell and Ms. Laura Parrish, were each compelled to speak out about opioid abuse and the opioid/heroin epidemic after losing a family member to a drug overdose.  Ms. Powell lost her youngest sister on July 1, 2015, to a drug overdose.  Ms. Parrish’s son Nick struggled with opiate addiction and died of a fentanyl overdose in April 2016.  Both speakers are members of the United States Attorney’s Heroin Education Action Team in the Eastern District of Kentucky.  The shared mission of United States Attorneys’ Heroin Education Action Teams (HEAT), here in Eastern North Carolina, in Kentucky, and across the country, is to reduce the growing harm to families and communities caused by heroin/opiate abuse by increasing understanding of this epidemic.  HEAT is a partnership between United States Attorneys’ Offices and families who have lost a loved one to opiate overdose.  These courageous moms, dads, ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-05
    3 weeks ago
  • Rocky Mount Tax Return Preparer Charged with Aiding and Assisting the Preparation of a False Return
    RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that MOSES WHITAKER has been charged with Aiding and Assisting in the Preparation of a False Income Tax Return.  For the tax years 2010 through 2018, the Criminal Information alleges that WHITAKER transmitted or caused to be transmitted approximately 3,384 U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns.  The Criminal Information further alleges  that WHITAKER and others prepared and caused to be transmitted U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns, which contained false information, including false dependents, inflated witholdings, education credits, and unreimbursed business expenses, resulting in the issuance of refunds to which the taxpayers were not entitled. WHITAKER is scheduled to appear in the New Bern federal courthouse on May 14, 2019, to enter his plea.  The maximum penalty he faces is three years’ imprisonment and a $100,000 fine.       Investigation of this case was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service.  ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-04
    3 weeks ago
  • Heroin/Fentanyl Pipeline to Wilmington Disrupted
    WILMINGTON – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced the conclusion of OCDETF Operation “Tooth Fairy”.  An Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combatting drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets. The defendants’ convictions and sentencings were the culmination of a multi-year and multi-agency investigation into a heroin/fentanyl trafficking ring operating primarily around Wilmington, North Carolina and the surrounding counties. On September 19, 2016, in a joint investigation between the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Safe Streets Task Force (Gang Unit) and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Vice Division, law enforcement arranged an undercover purchase of heroin from DEANDRE SWEET.  When DEANDRE SWEET arrived in a parking lot in Wilmington to complete the sale, law enforcement stopped his rental car and found 500 bags of heroin.  DEANDRE SWEET was then arrested. In the same joint investigation, between June and October 2017, law enforcement conducted several undercover purchases of heroin from KYERIC SWEET and DIQUELLE SWEET.  The investigation revealed that ANDREW LIGE was a source of supply for the Sweets.  On October 12, 2017, law enforcement arrested KYERIC SWEET in possession of a quantity of heroin and more than $2,500.  On October 10, 2017, DIQUELLE SWEET was a passenger in ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-03
    3 weeks ago
  • Mexican National Indicted on Methamphetamine Distribution and Illegal Reentry Charges
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that a federal grand jury in Raleigh has returned an indictment charging ALEJANDRO AVILEZ-PEREZ, age 41, of Mexico, with Conspiracy to Distribute more than 50 grams of Methamphetamine, Possession with Intent to Distribute more than 50 grams of Methamphetamine, and Illegal Reentry of a Deported Alien. If convicted of each drug count, AVILEZ-PEREZ, having been previously convicted of a serious drug felony (Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine) would face a minimum of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, a $20,000,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. If convicted of illegal reentry subsequent to an aggravated felony conviction, AVILEZ-PEREZ, previously convicted of Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine and Illegal Reentry of a Deported Alien, would face maximum penalties of 20 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.  The case is being investigated by DEA, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations and Homeland Security Investigations, State Bureau of Investigation, and the Nash County Sheriff’s Office. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-03
    3 weeks ago
  • Franklinton Man Sentenced for Distribution of Child Pornography
    RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that on April 3, 2019, in federal court, United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced aNDREW DAVID PHILLIPS, 28, of Franklinton, North Carolina to 210  months imprisonment, followed by 10 years of supervised release. PHILLIPS was named in a Criminal Information filed on February 13, 2018 charging him with Distribution of Child Pornography.  On March 20, 2018, PHILLIPS pled guilty to that charge.  Based on the investigation, PHILLIPS used a computer to store at least 2,210 images of child pornography.  In addition, PHILLIPS traded many of the images and videos with other individuals, in exchange for pornographic images of children. Investigation of this case was conducted by the Raleigh Police Department, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  Assistant United States Attorney Donald R. Pender represented the government.  ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-03
    3 weeks ago
  • Operation Tooth Fairy Press Conference
    WHEN:       Thursday, April 4, 2019 at 11:00 AM WHERE:     Wilmington Police Department                         Blue Room                         615 Bess Street                         Wilmington, NC 28401 RALEIGH – The United States Attorney’s Office announces a press conference to discuss the sentencing of multiple defendants in a multi-year heroin and heroin/fentanyl mixture conspiracy investigation in New Hanover, Brunswick, Bladen, Duplin, and Sampson Counties.  The case included one of the largest fentanyl seizures in the history of New Hanover County.  The following agencies took part in the Operation:  The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Coastal Carolina Criminal Enterprise Task Force, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force, Wilmington Police Department Gang Unit, New Hanover, Duplin and Sampson County Sheriff’s Offices, Elizabethtown Police Department, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, and the North Carolina Department of Probation and Parole Security Threat Group. In addition to United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. we anticipate members of the FBI, ATF, U.S. Marshal’s Service, Wilmington Police Department, New Hanover and Duplin County Sheriff’s Offices and New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office to be present at this event. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-02
    3 weeks ago
  • Fayetteville Man Sentenced to More Than 29 Years Following Attempt to Illegally Obtain Firearms
    RALEIGH — The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today, United States District Judge James C. Dever, III sentenced ALBERT VINES, 29, of Fayetteville to 326 months’ imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised release.  Mr. Vines was also on federal supervised release for a previous firearm conviction when he committed the instant offenses for which he was sentenced today.  Judge Dever revoked Mr. Vines’ supervised release and sentenced him to 30 months in BOP consecutive to his 326 month sentence. On December 11, 2018, VINES pled guilty to one count of Brandishing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence and one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Quantities of Marijuana, Cocaine Base, and Cocaine. On April 20, 2017, officers with the Fayetteville Police Department (FPD) responded to a robbery call at Tony's Mart located on Ramsey Street in Fayetteville. Upon arrival, the officers made contact with the owner of the business who reported that an individual, later identified as VINES, entered the business wearing all black clothing and asked the owner if there was a fair in town.  VINES then brandished a firearm, pointed it at the owner’s face, and stated, "give me the money.”  The owner went to the cash register and withdrew $600 which he then gave to VINES.  VINES also asked the owner for his firearm, which was hidden under the cash register.  The owner handed VINES his Smith and Wesson .40 caliber firearm ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-02
    3 weeks ago
  • Louisburg, NC Woman Sentenced to 3 Years in Federal Prison for Felon in Possession Charge
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that United States District Judge James C. Dever, III sentenced LINDSEY NICOLE UNDERHILL, 28, of Louisburg to 36 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised released. On October 18, 2018, UNDERHILL was named in an Indictment that charged her with Possession of Firearms by a Felon.  On January 7, 2019, UNDERHILL pled guilty to that charge.  On May 30, 2018, UNDERHILL, a convicted felon, traveled to Arrow Pawn and Jewelry located in Raleigh, North Carolina, and pawned three firearms: a Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun; a Hi-Point 9mm handgun; and a North American Arms .22 caliber revolver. This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Since 2017 the United States Department of Justice has reinvigorated the PSN program and has targeted violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime. This case was brought using the Take Back North Carolina Initiative of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.  This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violence ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-04-01
    3 weeks ago
  • Greenville Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison in Firearms Case
    RALEIGH - United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today, JUSTIN O’NEAL BARNES, 30, of Greenville was sentenced in United States District Court.  The charges stem from the recovery of a firearm in a liquor store in Greenville on October 11, 2017. U.S. District Judge James C. Dever, III sentenced BARNES to 120 months in prison following his December 18, 2018 conviction by a jury for being a felon in possession of a firearm.  On October 11, 2017, Greenville Police Department Officers began searching for BARNES based upon his potential involvement in another incident.  A Greenville detective observed BARNES’ vehicle and followed it to the ABC store located at 2305 South Memorial Drive in Greenville, where he observed BARNES enter the store.  The detective called for assistance and other officers responded to the scene.  In the store, the clerks refused to sell any alcohol to BARNES because he appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.  One of the clerks saw the officers outside and mentioned that to BARNESBARNES then quickly walked to the side of the counter and placed an object in an open box.  He then left the store and was detained.  The clerks then observed a handgun in the box.  Officers recovered a loaded Ruger .45 caliber pistol from the box. BARNES has prior convictions for possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, common law robbery, and felon in possession of a firearm. This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-03-31
    3 weeks ago
  • Medicaid Fraud Provider Plea
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announced that in federal court, United States Magistrate Judge Robert B. Jones, Jr. accepted a guilty plea in a health care fraud matter. ANDREA BOATMAN HALL, now known as, ANDREA MONIQUE PURNELL, 32 years of age, from Sanford N.C., pled guilty to one count of Medicaid Provider Fraud.     The investigation revealed that PURNELL was the owner, operator, manager and/or CEO of Extended Reach Day Treatment for Children and Adolescents (”Extended Reach”), a Medicaid provider of behavioral health services, including “day treatment” services. From on or about October 1, 2013, through October 26, 2016, PURNELL engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicaid by “adding” units of Day Treatment services not actually provided to Medicaid recipients in Extended Reach’s billed claim submissions.  These “added” units were added to those units of service that were actually provided to Medicaid recipients on a particular date of service.  For example, a particular beneficiary may have been at Extended Reach for four (4) hours on a particular day, but the Defendant billed the maximum six (6) hours for the individual on that day.  The defendant engaged in an extensive and systematic scheme to fraudulently bill “added” unit claims for “day treatment” services provided to Medicaid recipients. Additionally, PURNELL engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicaid by billing for “day treatment” services allegedly provided to Medicaid recipients on dates of service when those recipients were absent, and where such services ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-03-28
    4 weeks ago
  • Passing of Senior United States District Judge James C. Fox
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, issued the following statement upon the passing of Judge James C. Fox: “It is with a heavy heart that the men and women of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District acknowledge the death of former United States District Judge James C. Fox. Judge Fox, a graduate of the University of North Carolina and the UNC School of Law, was appointed as a United States District Judge for the Eastern District in 1982 by President Ronald Regan.  He served more than 35 years on the bench, until his retirement in 2017. Over the years of his service on the bench, federal prosecutors in this district knew Judge Fox to be a keen student of the law, and dedicated to its firm and fair enforcement.  He expected the highest standards of ethics and professionalism in his court and any attorney who appeared before him was the better for the experience.  He deeply loved the people and places in the Eastern District and worked hard to ensure their business was well-handled in federal court.  He will be greatly missed. Our deepest respect and gratitude go to Judge Fox.  And, we will keep Judge Fox’s family in our thoughts and prayers.” ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-03-24
    1 month ago
  • Sanford Man Sentenced 15 Years for Robbery
    RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced BRANDON RAUL NAVARRO, 29, of Sanford, North Carolina to 180  months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release. NAVARRO was named in an Indictment filed on August 1, 2018 charging him with robbery affecting interstate commerce and carjcacking.  On December 12, 2018, NAVARRO pled guilty to the robbery charge.  On July 10, 2018, NAVARRO robbed the Dollar General located at 19805 NC 27 West in Cameron, North Carolina, at knifepoint.  He also stole an employee’s truck by threatening her at knifepoint. He fled in the truck and ultimately led law enforcement officers on a multicounty, high-speed chase that at times exceeded 100 miles per hour.  After officers made numerous attempts to stop him, NAVARRO finally crashed the truck, attempted to flee on foot, and was arrested.   This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Since 2017 the United States Department of Justice has reinvigorated the PSN program and has targeted violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime. That effort has been implemented through the Take Back North Carolina Initiative of The United States ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-03-21
    1 month ago
  • Fayetteville Woman Sentenced for Filing False Income Tax Returns, Aggravated Identity Theft, and Making False Statements
    RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced  KHADIJA FATIMA HOWARD, 38, of Fayetteville to 30 months imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release.  HOWARD was named in a three-count Criminal Information filed on February 26, 2018.  On May 1, 2018, HOWARD pled guilty to Making and Filing False Income Tax Returns, Aggravated Identity Theft, and Making False Statements.  Pursuant to the Plea Agreement, HOWARD agreed to make restitution to the Internal Revenue Service in the amount of $47,247 and, to the Social Security Administration in the amount of $44,000. The investigation revealed that HOWARD applied for Title II disability benefits on July 20, 2009, claiming that the onset of her disability was April 1, 2009. After the SSA denied HOWARD’S application for disability benefits several times, HOWARD requested a hearing on November 21, 2012.  Prior to the hearing, HOWARD’S attorneys submitted a memorandum outlining HOWARD’S theory of the case and provided relevant medical records and additional evidence. At the hearing on March 20, 2014, a medical doctor testified on HOWARD’S behalf and proposed an amended date of January 24, 2012, as the date of onset of her disability. On April 25, 2014, the SSA awarded HOWARD disability benefits dating back to January 24, 2012, for the following impairments: inflammatory arthritis, idiopathic peripheral neuropathy, degenerative disc disease, and anxiety. From the time of her initial application and continuing until ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-03-20
    1 month ago
  • Five Aliens Indicted on Illegal Reentry Charges
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that a federal grand jury in Raleigh has returned indictments charging ROBERTO CARLOS CATALAN-BOCANEGRA, age 33, of Mexico, NESTOR ALONZO DE LOS SANTOS-HERNANDEZ, age 26, of Mexico, and FLORENCIO WALDEMAR VICENTE-VICENTE, age 26, of Guatemala, Noel Romero-Espinal, age 37, of Honduras, and Favian Villa-Campos, age 35, of Mexico, with Illegal Reentry of a Deported Alien. If convicted of illegal reentry of a deported alien, CATALAN-BOCANEGRA, previously deported after three convictions for driving while impaired and domestic violence protective order violations,  DE LOS SANTOS-HERNANDEZ, previously deported and found in New Hanover County due to his convictions for second degree forcible rape and indecent liberties with a child, and VICENTE-VICENTE, previously deported and found in Wayne County due to his conviction for a drug-related offense, would face maximum penalties of two years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. ROMERO-ESPINAL, previously deported twice after a conviction for attempted trafficking in cocaine and a former MS-13 gang member, was found based on a hotline tip that he was living in Wake County, and VILLA-CAMPOS, previously deported twice and found in Craven County while serving two consecutive 66 to 92 month sentences for attempted trafficking and conspiracy to traffic cocaine, are both alleged to have been previously deported subsequent to a felony conviction. Therefore, if convicted, ROMERO-ESPINAL and VILLA-CAMPOS would face a maximum imprisonment term of 10 years, a ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-03-20
    1 month ago
  • Federal Charges Announced for Bank Fraud and Fraud in Naturalization Process
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces an Indictment charging JAMAL MOHAMMAD ELEIDY, 57, of Apex, with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, two counts of attempted bank fraud, four counts of bank fraud, and two counts involving false and fraudulent statements in connection with his application for citizenship by naturalization.  According to the allegations in the Indictment, between March 2014 through the date of the Indictment, ELEIDY, and his co-conspirators used synthetic identities to apply for credit cards with at least 18 federally insured banks.     Synthetic identity fraud is a type of fraud in which various forms of information are combined to create a “new identity.”  The forms of information often include stolen or fictitious SSNs, and/or stolen or fictitious driver’s licenses. The new synthetic identity, or “new identity,” is then used to open financial accounts and secure credit based upon the newly created identity. Once credit is obtained and purchases made, the applicant seldom makes payments to the issuers.   In the present case, ELEIDY and his co-conspirators are alleged to have applied for credit with synthetic identities on at least 350 different occasions.   It is further alleged that over the course of the conspiracy, the conspirators caused a total loss of over $770,000 to various financial institutions. In addition, ELEIDY is alleged to have secured his naturalization as a United States citizen contrary to law by making false statements on his naturalization application. If convicted ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-03-20
    1 month ago
  • Rocky Mount Man and Woman Sentenced for Robberies
    RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that yesterday in federal court, Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced JAQUIN JAMAL PRATT, 20, and nikita shontel taylor, 26, of Rocky Mount, North Carolina to 120 months imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release and 87 months imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release respectfully. PRATT and TAYLOR were named in a Superseding Indictment filed on September 19, 2018, charging them with interference with commerce by robbery.  On December 12, 2018, and November 14, 2018, respectively, PRATt and TAYLOR each pleaded guilty to one count of interference with commerce.  On November 27, 2017, PRATT and TAYLOR robbed Saslow’s Jewelry in Wilson, North Carolina. They zip-tied employees then stole jewelry items valued at over $25,000. On December 8, 2017, PRATT and TAYLOR robbed Swift’s Fine Jewelry in Knightdale, North Carolina. Once again they zip-tied employees and stole jewelry valued above $30,000. Mr. Higdon commented:  “We are extremely pleased with the sentences imposed by the Court.  While we cannot fully restore the victims in this case because they  will always have to live with the fear and memory of being tied up and robbed.  We hope the Court’s sentence will bring some measure of comfort and will deter others from committing similar crimes. And, of course, for the next seven plus years, these defendants won’t be in a position to threaten or harm anyone else.” This case was initiated through the Take Back North Carolina Initiative ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-03-14
    1 month ago
  • Company and Two Individuals Sued for Allegedly Defrauding The United States Postal Service
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that the United States has filed a civil complaint alleging False Claims Act violations committed by BJ Trucking Company, Inc., a former Highway Contract Route supplier for the United States Postal Service.  The complaint also alleges False Claims Act violations against two of the company’s principals, Douglas Cline and his son Chad Cline, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent transfers allegedly made to hide money from the federal government. The complaint alleges that BJ Trucking Company and the Clines defrauded the United States by systematically misusing federal funds for unauthorized fuel purchases from 2009 to 2015.  In some instances, BJ Trucking Company allegedly used federal money to buy fuel for commercial, rather than Postal, trucking routes, including repeated alleged purchases in states where BJ Trucking Company had no Postal routes at all.  In other instances, the company allegedly spent federal funds over 1,300 times on unleaded (rather than diesel) fuel purchases that the United States believes were for unauthorized personal vehicles. The complaint also alleges that, after the Postal Service notified BJ Trucking Company and the Clines that they owed the United States over $3 million, the company transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Clines, their family members, and related entities in order to conceal the funds from federal authorities.  Perhaps worse, in September and October 2015, Chad Cline allegedly negotiated with the Postal Service for the release ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-03-13
    1 month ago
  • Williamston Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison for Felon in Possession Charge
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina announces today, that Senior United States District Malcolm J. Howard sentenced ANTONIO CLARENCE DAUGHTRIDGE 33, of Williamston to 120 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised released, and a $2,500 fine. On November 21, 2017, DAUGHTRIDGE was named in a Six-Count Second Superseding Indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury sitting in the Eastern District of North Carolina.  DAUGHTRIDGE was charged with possession with intent to distribute a quantity of 3-4 methlylenedioxymethemphetamine and a quantity of cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon and one count of possession with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine base (crack). On December 3, 2018, DAUGHTRIDGE pled guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon.  On March 8, 2015 officers with the Wilson Police Department were working off-duty at Oscar’s Night Club in Wilson when they were approached by an unknown female, stating that DAUGHTRIDGE was in possession of a firearm and had pointed it at her.  Officers approached the vehicle that the woman stated DAUGHTRIDGE occupied, had the driver put the car in park and gave commands to DAUGHTRIDGE to show his hands.  DAUGHTRIDGE was not compliant with the commands and officers pulled him from the vehicle.  Once out of the vehicle and arrested, officers observed and seized a firearm underneath the passenger seat.  During the ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-03-11
    1 month ago
  • Windsor Woman Sentenced to 12 Months in Prison for Accepting Bribes
    RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that in federal court, United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced ARLINDA HENDRIX LEE, 47, of Windsor, North Carolina, to 12 months and 1 day in prison, followed by 1 year of supervised release. An investigation revealed that LEE, a correctional officer at Rivers Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Winton, North Carolina, was accepting bribes and helping to smuggle contraband into the prison for inmates. On July 23, 2018, LEE pleaded guilty to a Criminal Information that charged her with Receipt of Bribes by a Public Official from 2015 to January 27, 2017.  In December 2015, investigators became aware that an inmate at Rivers FCI was using contraband cell phones to facilitate the smuggling of contraband cigarettes and drugs into the prison, as well as to communicate with drug associates.  A review of telephone records from September 22, 2015 through March 28, 2016 revealed that the inmate had 53 contacts with phone numbers associated with LEE.  The inmate later obtained a new cell phone, and phone records revealed five additional contacts with LEE. Investigators determined that between May 10, 2012, and August 18, 2016, LEE received $7,350 in wire transfers from known associates of Rivers FCI inmates in exchange for helping to smuggle contraband into the prison.   Investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Prisons Office of Inspector General. The ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-03-06
    2 months ago
  • Three Indicted on Conspiracy to Commit Marriage Fraud and Related Immigration Charges
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that a federal grand jury in Raleigh has returned an indictment charging LEVAN LOMTATIDZE, age 44, a citizen of the country of Georgia, MELISSA ANNE GODSHALL, age 31, a citizen of the United States, ROBERT J. KENNERLEY, age 46, a citizen of the United States, with conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, marriage fraud, aiding and abetting, visa fraud and false statements in immigration proceedings.  The indictment alleges that GODSHALL and KENNERLEY, who were romantically involved, were panhandling for money on the side of the road in Granville County, North Carolina. An individual approached them and asked GODSHALL if she would be willing to marry a foreign-born national for money. GODSHALL agreed to engage in the marriage to LOMTATIDZE in exchange for $12,000, housing, and a vehicle.  LOMTATIDZE and GODSHALL got married in Granville County, North Carolina. The marriage ceremony was witnessed by KENNERLEY and another individual LOMTATIDZE, GODSHALL and KENNERLEY entered into a rental agreement for a house located in Raleigh, North Carolina. The rent was paid for by LOMTATIDZE as part of the payment for the sham marriage. Thereafter, GODSHALL and LOMTATIDZE submitted fraudulent applications to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requesting LOMTATIDZE’s adjustment of status as a lawful permanent resident in the United States.  LOMTATIDZE and GODSHALL were interviewed at the USCIS office in Durham, North Carolina. Both attested under oath they were married in good faith. As a ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-03-06
    2 months ago
  • Man Sentenced for Possession of a Firearm by a Felon
    NEW BERN – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced KEVIN PAUL WOOD, 19, of Raleigh to 57 months imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release.  WOOD was named in an Indictment filed on July 25, 2018.  On November 13, 2018, WOOD pled guilty to one-count of Possession of a Firearm by a Felon. On April 17, 2018, investigators with the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) responded to a breaking and entering and larceny call in Lillington, North Carolina.  When officers arrived at the home, it appeared to have been rummaged through, and a rifle and .9mm handgun had been stolen. Evidence showed that WOOD committed this breaking and entering and stole the firearms.  On April 19, 2018, deputies with the HCSO responded to a residence in which the victims were home sleeping when they received a call from their grandson that someone was outside their home.  One of the victims went to the backdoor and noticed it was cracked open; when she opened the door, she saw a man on the other side of the storm door pointing a gun at her face.  The victim slammed the door and called 911. The victim further advised that the suspect had to be on foot because the front gate was locked.  HCSO deputies observed footprints outside the residence.  During their investigation, deputies received a domestic disturbance call at WOOD’s parents’ home, not ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-03-05
    2 months ago
  • Fayetteville Man Sentenced for Drug Distribution and Firearm Offenses
    RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced DEMETRIE EVERETT, 24, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, to 72 months imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release. EVERETT was named in an Indictment filed on June 13, 2018, charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl, distribution of fentanyl, distribution of heroin, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  On October 18, 2018, EVERETT pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl,  distribution of heroin, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  According to the investigation, EVERETT distributed controlled substances which led to an immediate opioid overdose in April 2018.  Following this overdose, and during the course of the investigation, law enforcement conducted two purchases of narcotics from EVERETT including heroin and fentanyl.  A subsequent search warrant executed at EVERETT’s residence revealed additional controlled substances, as well as a firearm. This case was implemented through the Take Back North Carolina Initiative of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.  This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices in those communities on a sustained basis to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement. Investigation of this case was conducted by the Fayetteville ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-03-03
    2 months ago
  • Former Operator Of Illegal Booter Services Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Commit Computer Damage And Abuse
    WASHINGTON  – An Orland Park, Illinois man pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to cause damage to internet-connected computers for his role in owning, administering, and supporting illegal booter services that launched millions of illegal DDoS attacks against victim computer systems in the United States and elsewhere.  The illegal services included ExoStress.in, (“ExoStresser”), QuezStresser.com, Betabooter.com (“Betabooter”), Databooter.com, Instabooter.com, Polystress.com, and Zstress.net.  Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr. for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement.  According to the criminal information, Sergiy P. Usatyuk, 20, combined with a co-conspirator to develop, control and operate a number of booter services and booter-related websites from around August 2015 through November 2017 that launched millions of DDoS attacks that disrupted the internet connections of targeted victim computers, rendered targeted websites slow or inaccessible, and interrupted normal business operations.  For instance, as of Sept. 12, 2017, ExoStresser advertised on its website (exostress.in) that its booter service alone had launched 1,367,610 DDoS attacks, and caused targeted victim computer systems to suffer 109,186.4 hours of network downtime. “Booters” or “Stressers” are a class of publicly-available, web-based services that allow cybercriminals to launch distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, attacks that overwhelm a target computer system with unrequested traffic and, in turn, “boot” or “drop” the victim from the internet for a relatively small fee or no fee at all.  To launch a DDoS attack using a booter, a cybercriminal often needs only ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-02-26
    2 months ago
  • Terry Slaughter Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement of Labor Union Assets
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that today, in federal court, TERRY SLAUGHTER, age 48, pled guilty to embezzlement of labor union assets.  In pleading guilty, SLAUGHTER, agreed to make restitution to the United Food and Commercial Workers Local Union 1208 in the amount of $62,315.38. On January 8, 2019, SLAUGHTER was charged in a Criminal Information with knowingly, intentionally and willfully embezzling, stealing, abstracting and converting to his own use and the use of another, on a recurring basis, money, funds, property, and other assets of a labor organization of which he was an officer, knowing his appropriation of the property was unauthorized.  This Information charged SLAUGHTER with using the embezzled money primarily to fund vacations and purchase personal items.   In 2011, Terry Slaughter was elected secretary-treasurer of the United Food and Commercial Workers (“UFCW”), Local Union 1208.  The Local encompasses North and South Carolina and has approximately 3600 active members.  As the Secretary-Treasurer, Slaughter had financial oversight of the Local’s expenditures, bills, staff benefits, and payroll.  SLAUGHTER also acted as a counter signature on union checks and was responsible for providing monthly financial statements to the executive board as well as writing/maintaining the minutes from membership meetings. In 2015, the UFCW initiated an audit of the Local after placing it under a trusteeship on March 30.  The audit revealed that between January 2012 and March 2015, SLAUGHTER embezzled $62,315.38 in union funds by receiving unauthorized checks ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-02-25
    2 months ago
  • Fayetteville Man Sentenced to More Than 21 Years for Drug Trafficking and Firearm Offense
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that Senior United States District Judge W. Earl Britt sentenced CALVIN BRUCE BEARD, a/k/a “40 Cal.”, 39, of Fayetteville to 262 months’ imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised released. On October 1, 2018, BEARD pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base (crack) and a quantity of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  In April 2017, the Fayetteville Police Department, with the assistance of a confidential informant, conducted controlled purchases of cocaine, cocaine base, and/or firearms from BEARD, a convicted felon.  During drug transactions, BEARD sold the confidential informant an SKS assault rifle and a fully-automatic Yugoslavian machine gun, both which contained more than 15 rounds of ammunition.  This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Since 2017 the United States Department of Justice has reinvigorated the PSN program and has targeted violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime. This case was brought using the Take Back North Carolina Initiative of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-02-25
    2 months ago
  • Fifteen Aliens Indicted on Illegal Reentry Charges
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that a federal grand jury in Raleigh has returned indictments charging BARTOLO ALVAREZ-CRUZ, age 32, of Mexico, JORGE ALBERTO MALDONADO-BROON, age 35, of Mexico,  ANTONIO CANDELA-SANTOS, age 42, of Mexico, ACELINO CORONA-ARAUJO, age 45, of Mexico, MARIO EXEQUIAS GARAY, age 44, of El Salvador, IVAN GONZALEZ-COLON, age 28, of Mexico, DENIS JOEL GUTIERREZ-RIVAS, age 34, of Honduras, RUBEN GUZMAN-VALERIO, age 34, of Mexico, RAMON HERNANDEZ-LOPEZ, age 44, of Mexico, DLADIMIR AQUILINO MORALES-DIAZ, age 22, of Guatemala, ELDER TOMAS MORALES-DIAZ, age 35, of Guatemala, ALEJANDRO OLIVA-HERNANDEZ, age 23, of Mexico, JESUS ORTIZ-JIMENEZ, age 28, of Mexico,  ALEJANDRO PIZANA-MORONES, age 24, of Mexico, RAMON CRUZ-CRISANTO, age 34, of Mexico, with Illegal Reentry of a Deported Alien. If convicted of illegal reentry of a deported alien, ALVAREZ-CRUZ,  found in Wake County, MALDONADO-BROON, previously deported twice and found in Wake County, CANDELA-SANTOS, previously deported seven times and found in Wake County, CORONA-ARAUJO, found in Wake County, GARAY, found in Wake County, GONZALEZ-COLON, found in Wake County, GUTIERREZ-RIVAS, previously deported three times and found in New Hanover County, GUZMAN-VALERIO, previously deported three times and found in Wake County, D. A. MORALES-DIAZ, found in Wake County, E.T. MORALES-DIAZ, found in Wake County, OLIVA-HERNANDEZ, found in Wake County, ORTIZ-JIMENEZ, previously deported twice and found in Johnston County, and PIZANA-MORONES, previously deported three times and found in Wake County, would face maximum penalties of two years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-02-21
    2 months ago
  • Fayetteville Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Drug Distribution and Firearm Offenses
    RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that   United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced GEORGE HADDEN, 36, of Fayetteville, North Carolina to 240 months imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release.  HADDEN was sentenced as an Armed Career Criminal. HADDEN was named in an Indictment filed on August 14, 2018, charging him with one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin, one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and one count of felon in possession of a firearm.  On November 14, 2018, HADDEN pled guilty.  According to the investigation, on April 15, 2018, HADDEN was observed in suspected drug distribution activity. A traffic stop of HADDEN’s vehicle revealed nineteen grams of heroin, which was packaged for distribution, and a stolen handgun. HADDEN is a multiple-time convicted felon.   That effort has been implemented through the Take Back North Carolina Initiative of The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.  This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement. Investigation of this case was conducted by the  Fayetteville Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorney Lucy Partain represented the government. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-02-20
    2 months ago
  • Four Indicted on Conspiracy to Commit Marriage Fraud, Marriage Fraud, Harboring an Alien to Come to the United States, Visa Fraud and False Statements Under Oath Charges
    RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that a federal grand jury in Raleigh has returned indictments charging EDWARD KUMI ANGUAH, age 39, a United States citizen serving in the United States Army, KWAPHOOM EUGENE HOOMKWAP, age 30, of Nigeria, SULEMANA IBRAHIM, age 39, of Ghana, and KAHMID MOHAMMED MURTADA, age 34, a United States citizen serving in the United Sates Army, with conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, marriage fraud, harboring an alien to come to the United States, visa fraud and false statement under oath. If convicted of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, harboring an alien to come to the United States, and visa fraud, ANGUAH, found in Cumberland County, would face maximum penalties of twenty five years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. If convicted of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and harboring certain aliens to come to the United States, HOOMKWAP, found in Cumberland County, and MURTADA, found in Cumberland County, would face maximum penalties of fifteen years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. If convicted of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, marriage fraud, harboring certain alien to come to the United States, visa fraud, and false statements under oath, IBRAHIM, found in Cumberland County, would face maximum penalties of thirty five years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. The ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-02-20
    2 months ago
  • Wilmington Gang Leader Sentenced on Drug and Gun Charges Following Undercover Operation
    RALEIGH — The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today, United States District Judge James C. Dever, III, sentenced Victor Eugene Dorm, 30, of Wilmington to 240 months’ imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised release.  On November 14, 2018, DORM pled guilty to five counts: conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine and 28 grams or more of crack cocaine; distribution of a quantity of heroin; manufacture, distribution, and possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base; use and carry a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  DORM was the fourth of six co-defendants to be sentenced in this case.  Three men have received sentences ranging from 60 to 204 months: On May 23, 2018, Eugene Telphia Grady, Jr., was sentenced to 60 months’ imprisonment and 6 years of supervised release, following his guilty plea to a charge of conspiring to distribute crack cocaine.  On October 3, 2018, James Flowers was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment and 5 years of supervised release, following a guilty plea to conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess cocaine and 28 grams of more of crack cocaine; manufacture, distribution, and possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of crack cocaine; and use and carry a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Also on October 3, 2018, Sylvester Lorenzo Hooper, ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-02-20
    2 months ago
  • Man Sentenced to More than 16 Years for Violent Hobbs Act Robbery in Elizabeth City
    ELIZABETH CITY – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced NATHAN LAMONTE SILVER, 44, of Clarksville, Tennessee to 200 months imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release. SILVER was named in an Indictment filed on May 2, 2018 charging him with a Hobbs Act Robbery on October 19, 2017.  On November 5, 2018, SILVER pled guilty to the charge.    According to the investigation,  on October 19, 2017, SILVER entered Star One Tobacco and Wine in Elizabeth City and went to the beer cooler of the store. SILVER picked up a beer and immediately dropped it.  After acquiring another beer, the defendant took it to the register and attempted to pay with a credit card; however, the card was declined.  SILVER advised the clerk, who is also the store owner, he would be back with some money.  Thinking SILVER had left the store, the clerk went to the back room in order to get a broom to clean up the broken beer bottle.  SILVER entered the back room behind the clerk, punched the clerk, knocking the clerk to the ground, and locked the door to the room.  The clerk told SILVER to take the money from the register and leave.  Instead, SILVER continued punching the clerk in the head, pulled a pocket knife, and stabbed it into the left side of the clerk’s neck.  The clerk was able to kick the knife breaking the ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-02-20
    2 months ago
  • One of the Largest Fentanyl Distributors in Wilmington Gets 17 Years in Federal Prison
    RA­­LEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced SHAWQI GRAY, 37, of Wilmington to 204 months imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised release. On November 6, 2018, GRAY plead guilty to possession with the intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and a quantity of fentanyl and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crime. On November 30, 2017, the New Hanovery County Sheriff’s Office conducted a search of GRAY’s residence and a storage container on the property.  Law enforcement found the following items: more than 150 grams of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl, more than 150 grams of a mixture of heroin and ketamine, 5 handguns (two of which were stolen) and more than $47,000 in cash.  The investigation uncovered that GRAY had been involved in the distribution of more than a kilogram and half of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl from July until November 2017. On August 4, 2016, the Easton, Pennsylvania Police searched GRAY’S residence.  Gray was not present.  Law enforcement found 20 grams of heroin, 68 grams of crack cocaine and more than $19,000 in cash.  This case is part of an FBI lead OCDETF operation “Tooth Fairy”.  This is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).  This investigation is focused on the distribution of heroin from New Jersey to New Hanover, Brunswick, Bladen, Duplin, and ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East NCPublished on 2019-02-20
    2 months ago