News and Press Releases

CONTACT: 919/856-4530

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Wednesday - March 31, 2004

HENDERSON - At a news conference in Henderson, N. C., on Wednesday, March 31, 2004, federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities announced the results of "Project Countdown," an EASTFORCE investigation involving drug and firearm trafficking in the Henderson/Vance County area of North Carolina. EASTFORCE is a drug task force program developed by the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina. It is a non-OCDETF (Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force) federal drug investigation effort that utilizes a team approach among federal, state, and local law enforcement to target the most significant drug traffickers/organizations in the Eastern District's 44 counties.

"Project Countdown," which began in August, 2003, is a cooperative effort to prosecute and convict individuals federally who have been a continuing problem for the Henderson Police Department. One goal of the project has been the prosecution of individuals who are repeat drug offenders, regardless of the quantity of drugs involved. Also, many of the "Project Countdown"cases involve career offenders who are subject to enhanced penalties that average a minimum of 20 years imprisonment. The project also has focused on armed career offenders, investigated under the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative, who are subject to 15-year minimum sentences.

Cases filed to date include the following defendants:

Betty Brown was indicted (with Darrell Hill) on 1/29/04 and charged with possession with intent to distribute more than five grams of cocaine base (Ct. 1) and maintaining a place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, and using a controlled substance (Ct. 2). She is awaiting arraignment. If convicted as charged, Brown would face a sentence of not less than five years or more than 40 years imprisonment.

Corey Bullock was indicted on 5/27/03 and charged with possession with intent to distribute more than five grams of cocaine base (Ct. 1); possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Ct. 2); and possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime (Ct. 3). He pled guilty to Cts. 1 and 3, pursuant to a plea agreement, and was sentenced to 120 months imprisonment on 10/22/03.

Corey Davis was indicted on 3/12/03 and charged with unlawful transfer of a firearm (Ct. 1) and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Ct. 2). He pled guilty to Ct. 2 on 9/24/03 and was sentenced to 120 months imprisonment on 2/26/04.

Matthew Davis was indicted (with Samuel Davis, Jr. and DeMario Nelson) on 12/11/02 and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Cts. 2 and 4). He pled guilty to Ct. 4, pursuant to a plea agreement, and was sentenced to 100 months imprisonment on 8/20/03.

Samuel Davis, Jr. was indicted (with Matthew Davis and Demario Nelson) on 12/11/02 and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Ct. 5). He pled guilty to Ct. 5 and was sentenced to 108 months imprisonment on 7/9/03.

Eric Dunston was indicted on 7/17/03 and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon(Ct. 1). He pled guilty, pursuant to a plea agreement, on 12/1/03 and is awaiting sentencing. Dunston could receive a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

Chester Edgerton was indicted on 10/15/03 and charged with possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine base and a quantity of cocaine and marijuana (Ct. 1); possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Ct. 2); possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime (Ct 3); and maintaining a place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, and using a controlled substance (Ct. 4). The indictment also seeks forfeiture of Edgerton's personal property, including his house and car. He pled guilty to all counts of the indictment without a plea agreement on 12/1/03 and is awaiting sentencing. Edgerton faces not less than 10 years or more than life imprisonment on Ct. 1 and a consecutive 60-month term of imprisonment on Ct. 3.

Nathan Foster was indicted on 11/6/03 and charged with possession with intent to distribute more than five grams of cocaine base (Ct. 1). He pled guilty, pursuant to a plea agreement, on 2/2/04. Foster is awaiting sentencing and faces not less than five years or more than 40 years imprisonment.

Derrick Gill was indicted on 10/15/03 and charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin (Ct. 1) and possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime (Ct. 2). He pled guilty to Cts. 1 and 2, pursuant to a plea agreement, on 2/24/04 and has agreed to forfeit over $7,000, which was seized on the date of his arrest. Gill is awaiting sentencing and faces a minimum of five years imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment.

Chester Harris was indicted on 1/29/04 and charged with possession with intent to distribute more than five grams of cocaine base (Ct.1); possession with intent to distribute marijuana (Ct. 2); and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (Ct. 3). Harris, the son of Chester Edgerton, is awaiting arraignment. If convicted as charged, he could receive a sentence of not less than five years or more than 40 years imprisonment.

Darrell Hill was indicted (with Betty Brown) on 1/29/04 and charged with possession with intent to distribute more than five grams of cocaine base (Ct. 1); maintaining a place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, and using a controlled substance (Ct.2), and aiding and abetting. He is awaiting trial. If convicted as charged, Hill could receive a sentence of not less than five years or more than 40 years imprisonment.

Warren Hillard was indicted on 8/21/03 and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Ct.1). Hillard pled guilty to the indictment and was sentenced to 70 months imprisonment on 2/17/04.

Doug Hudgins, Jr. was indicted on 4/16/03 and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm (Ct. 1) and possession of a stolen firearm (Ct.3). He pled guilty to Ct. 1, pursuant to a plea agreement, and was sentenced to 70 months imprisonment on 12/10/03.

Andre Khan was indicted on 12/11/02 and charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin (Cts. 1 and 2); possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Ct. 3); and possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime (Ct.4). He pled guilty, pursuant to a plea agreement, and was sentenced to 80 months imprisonment on 5/28/03.

Johnny Magbie was indicted on 8/21/03 and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm (Ct. 1) and possession of a stolen firearm (Ct.2). He is awaiting arraignment. If convicted as charged, Magbie could receive a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

Demario Nelson was indicted (with Samuel Davis and Matthew Davis) on 12/11/02 and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Ct.1) and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (Ct. 3). He pled guilty to Ct. 1, pursuant to a plea agreement, and was sentenced to 120 months imprisonment on 8/27/03.

Doug Person was indicted on 6/6/03 and charged with possession with intent to distribute more than five grams of cocaine base (Ct. 1); possession of firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime (Ct. 2); possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Ct. 3); and maintaining a place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, and using a controlled substance (Ct. 4). He pled guilty to Cts. 1 and 2, pursuant to a plea agreement, and is awaiting sentencing. Person faces not less than five years and not more than 40 years imprisonment on Ct. 1, and a consecutive five years imprisonment on Ct. 2.

Nicholas Person was indicted on 10/15/03 and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He pled guilty to the indictment on 3/29/04 and is awaiting sentencing. Person faces a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

Roderick Ragland was arrested on 3/29/04 on a criminal complaint charging him with distribution of more than five grams of cocaine base. He is in custody awaiting further proceedings.

Willie Richardson was indicted on 3/19/03 and charged with dealing in firearms without a license (Ct.1); providing false statements during the acquisition of a firearm (Cts. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14); and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Cts. 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13). He pled guilty to Ct. 13, pursuant to a plea agreement, and was sentenced to 33 months imprisonment on 10/21/03.

Lamont Siplen was indicted on 6/30/03 and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Cts. 1, 2). He pled guilty to Ct. 1 on 8/29/03 and is awaiting sentencing. Siplen faces a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

Dominic White was indicted on 10/15/03 and charged with possession with intent to distribute more than five grams of cocaine base (Ct. 1); possession with intent to distribute marijuana (Ct. 2); possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Ct. 3); possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime (Ct.4); and maintaining a place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, and using a controlled substance (Ct. 5). He pled guilty to Cts. 1, 3, and 4 on 2/2/04 and is awaiting sentencing. White faces not less than five years or more than 40 years imprisonment on Ct. 1, and not less than five years consecutive to any other sentence on Ct. 4. On Ct. 3, because of his extensive criminal history, White will be considered an Armed Career Offender and will face not less than 15 years or more than life imprisonment.

Investigation of "Project Countdown" was conducted by the Henderson Police Department, the Vance County Sheriff's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the N. C. State Bureau of Investigation. Prosecution of the cases is being handled by the United States Attorney's Office.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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

USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.

Project Safe Neighborhoods

Our nation-wide commitment to reducing gun crime in America.

Victim Witness Assistance

Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect.

Oficinas de los Fiscales de Estados Unidos En Espaņol