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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Friday - October 24, 2003

RALEIGH - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney announced that DARRIN ANTHONY WRIGHT, a/k/a "New York," was sentenced in federal court in Raleigh on Thursday, October 23, 2003, for gun trafficking violations and for use of a firearm in connection with a drug crime. Chief U. S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle granted the government's motion for upward departure and imposed a sentence of 25 years imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release. As shown through evidence presented during the sentencing hearing, the upward departure was due to WRIGHT's violent criminal history and the strong likelihood that he would continue to commit violent crimes upon his eventual release from prison.

WRIGHT, 35, of Black Creek, N. C., was indicted by a federal grand jury in Raleigh on February 24, 2003. The indictment charged WRIGHT with operating a gun trafficking ring that involved at least seven other persons. WRIGHT, a convicted felon, recruited those persons to straw purchase handguns on his behalf in the vicinity of Wilson, N. C. WRIGHT would then remove the serial numbers from the handguns and transport them to New York for sale. Through this operation, WRIGHT transported at least 40 handguns to New York.

Seven other members of the trafficking ring have pleaded guilty to their involvement in the criminal operation and have been sentenced. Investigation of this case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Wilson Police Department. Assistant U. S. Attorney Dennis M. Duffy 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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