News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2008

Four Sentenced For Cocaine & Crack Distribution
Estimated 550 Kilos Distributed

FEB 13 -- New Bern, NC- United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced that in federal court today,  Chief US District Judge Louise Flanagan sentenced four defendants, CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS GAUSE, JR., 57, of Wilmington, North Carolina; HOWARD LEE DELTS, JR., 36, of Leland, North Carolina; JOE NATHANIEL MCCRAY, 36, of Wilmington, North Carolina; and JAMES ADOLPH BROWN, 53, of Wilmington, North Carolina.

The investigation, which included a court authorized wire tap of a telephone utilized by the defendants, centered around the transportation of substantial amounts of cocaine from Atlanta, Georgia, to the Wilmington, North Carolina, area. Thereafter, members of the conspiracy distributed the cocaine in various ways including through a local clothing store known as X-Slave Fashions. Investigators estimated that more than 550 kilograms were distributed in this manner.

Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division stated, “When you make the choice to distribute drugs, it’s just a matter of time before we catch you. These individuals are no longer able to deliver cocaine and crack because of the great working relationship that DEA continues to have with our federal, state and local counterparts.”

“This office continues its commitment to remove drugs and drug dealers from our streets,” stated United States Attorney George Holding. “The best way to accomplish this commitment is through teamwork with local, state and federal law enforcement.”

Each defendant was sentenced on February 13, 2008 as follows:

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS GAUSE, JR., was sentenced to 240 months’ imprisonment, five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $200.00 special assessment. GAUSE, a leader in the organization, was also ordered to forfeit his interest in five tracts of real property and personal property. On September 12, 2007, GAUSE pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute more than five (5) kilograms of cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846, and to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1).

 

HOWARD LEE DELTS, JR., was sentenced to 176 months’ imprisonment, five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100.00 special assessment. On September 12, 2007, DELTS pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute more than five (5) kilograms of cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846.

 

JAMES ADOLPH BROWN was sentenced to 151 months’ imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100.00 special assessment. On September 12, 2007, BROWN pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute more than five (5) grams of cocaine base, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1).

 

On February 12, 2008: JOE NATHANIEL MCCRAY was sentenced to 60 months’ imprisonment, four years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100.00 special assessment. On October 22, 2007, MCCRAY pleaded guilty to Count Two of a superseding indictment that charged MCCRAY with distribution of cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1).

 

Five defendants, Lee Anthony Braggs, Romano Edward Hansley, Argun Bell, Carmen Suarez, and Bryan Alexander Walker will be sentenced at a later date to be determined by the Court. The investigation is ongoing.

 

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Bureau of Investigation, and the Wilmington Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Michael G. James is the assigned prosecutor.

DEA Atlanta Field Division SAC Benson recommends parents and children educate themselves about the dangers of drug abuse by visiting DEA’s interactive website at www.justhinktwice.com

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