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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Thursday - October 23, 2003

RALEIGH - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney announced that JERRY KAREEM TATUM and RONNIE LEE JONES were sentenced in federal court in Raleigh on Monday, October 20, 2003, for robbery and firearms violations. Chief U. S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle imposed a sentence of 39 years imprisonment and five years of supervised release for each defendant. Also, he ordered that TATUM pay $35,959.00 in restitution and that JONES pay $23,065.00 in restitution to their victims.

A federal grand jury in Greenville returned a 30-count indictment on November 13, 2003, which charged both defendants with 15 counts of interfering with commerce by robbery and 15 counts of using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

TATUM, 34, of 4001-G12 Merriweather Drive, Durham, N. C., pled guilty on March 18, 2003, to 15 counts of interfering with commerce by robbery and two counts of using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

JONES, 32, of 718 Felicia Street, Durham, N. C., pled guilty on March 25, 2003, to 10 counts of interfering with commerce by robbery and two counts of using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

According to the indictment and evidence presented in court, from July 2001 through January 2002, TATUM and JONES robbed over 29 businesses in the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina. The defendants used firearms in all of the robberies, and often locked their victims in coolers before leaving the establishments, which included coffee shops, restaurants, video stores, ABC stores, a grocery store, and a motel. All of the establishments robbed were engaged in commercial retail business in interstate and foreign commerce and in an industry which affects interstate and foreign commerce.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Wake County Sheriff's Office, the Johnston County Sheriff's Office, and the Police Departments of Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Morrisville, and Clayton. Assistant U. S. Attorney Felice McConnell Corpening handled the case for the government.

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney's web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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