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Wednesday - April 28, 2004

WILMINGTON - Acting United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced that LEO HINSON was sentenced in federal court in Wilmington, N. C., on Monday, April 26, 2004, for conspiring to launder drug money. Senior U. S. District Judge James C. Fox imposed a sentence of 225 months imprisonment, a fine of $8,400.00, and three years of supervised release.

HINSON, 62, formerly of Seven Springs, N. C., was indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in Raleigh on September 17, 2002. The three-count indictment charged him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, methamphetamine, and cocaine; distribution of methamphetamine; and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Pursuant to a plea agreement with the United States Attorney's Office, HINSON pled guilty to the money laundering conspiracy count on January 15, 2004. The remaining counts were dismissed at sentencing.

Evidence developed during the investigation showed that HINSON invested more than $2 million of his drug profits in land and equipment in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. He moved to South Boston, Virginia, in 1994, after purchasing several tracts of land on which he established a small farming operation. He also installed 25 miles of fencing on that property, at an approximate cost of $250,000.00. All of the property purchased by HINSON, except for a residence in South Carolina and some farm equipment, has been ordered to be forfeited to the United States.

The investigation also revealed that HINSON obtained methamphetamine, marijuana, and cocaine from Texas and other places, and supplied the drugs to Phillip Henry Barfield and others for further distribution in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Barfield is currently serving a life sentence in federal prison.

HINSON will serve the sentence imposed on Monday concurrently with a 293-month federal prison sentence he received in October 2003 in the Western District of Virginia. That sentence resulted from HINSON's conviction on charges of attempting to have two of the government's witnesses to his drug trafficking activities in North Carolina murdered.

Investigation of this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) case, code-named "Harvest Moon," was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the N. C. State Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office, and the Halifax/South Boston, Virginia, Regional Narcotic Enforcement Task Force. Assistant U. S. Attorney Christine Witcover Dean prosecuted the case for the government.


News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney's web page at within 48 hours of release.

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