FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday - March 16, 2004
NEW BERN - Acting United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced that AL JAMES SMITH was sentenced in federal court in New Bern on Monday, March 15, 2004, for firearms violations and related charges. U. S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan imposed a sentence of 293 months imprisonment and five years of supervised release. At sentencing, Judge Flanagan noted that SMITH had 23 prior felony convictions on his record.
SMITH, 45, of 1927 Plymouth Street, Fayetteville, N. C., was indicted by a federal grand jury in Wilmington on November 25, 2003. He was charged with three counts of making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms; three counts of possessing a firearm after he had been convicted previously of a felony; engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license; and conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license. SMITH was convicted of all charges on December 10, 2003, following a jury trial in New Bern.
According to testimony and evidence presented during the trial, this case was part of a larger firearms trafficking investigation out of Cumberland County. SMITH and several other individuals bought at least 30 documented firearms in Cumberland County and then traveled to New York to sell the guns to identified
drug dealers in that city. This case is also part of the national firearms trafficking initiative known as "Operation Pipeline," which involves the investigation and prosecution of firearms trafficking cases up and down the eastern seaboard from Florida to New York.
Investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, with assistance from the New York City Police Department. Assistant U. S. Attorney Jane J. Jackson 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.