GREENVILLE — The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that United States District Judge Malcolm J. Howard sentenced JAMES SPENCER BELL, 29, of Lumberton to 241 months’ imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised release. BELL, was charged in a seven count indictment filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina on August 16, 2017. On December 7, 2017 BELL pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine base and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.
On May 20, 2016, BELL was engaged in a sale of a quarter ounce of cocaine base (crack) when a violent altercation ensued with the purchaser. BELL admitted to shooting the man twice in self-defense, before fleeing the crime scene. The victim subsequently succumbed to his wounds. BELL provided law enforcement investigators with detailed confessions of the shooting and of his dealings in selling cocaine base (crack). BELL was found to be accountable for selling 552.63 grams of cocaine base (crack) from sometime in 2013 to February 10, 2017.
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 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.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). Assistant United States Attorney Daniel William Smith prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.