News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

TUESDAY - August 5, 2008

TWO ROANOKE RAPIDS MEN PLEAD GUILTY IN FEDERAL COURT TO
PARTICIPATING IN DRUG CONSPIRACY AND WELDON MAN
SENTENCED FOR DISTRIBUTING CRACK

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced today that two men from Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, have pled guilty in federal court to participating in a drug conspiracy. JOSEPH LEE GORHAM pled guilty before United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle on Monday, August 4, 2008, to Count One of a Criminal Indictment charging him with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute fifty (50) grams or more of cocaine base (crack), in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. DEVINO PATERA PUTNEY, pled guilty before United States Magistrate Judge David Daniel on Tuesday, August 5, 2008, to Count One of a Criminal Indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute fifty (50) or more grams of cocaine base (crack), five (5) or more kilograms of cocaine powder, and one hundred (100) kilograms of marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, § 846.

These cases are part of an ongoing investigation being conducted by local, state, and federal authorities targeting multiple mid-level drug traffickers located in and around the Halifax County, North Carolina area. The investigation, led by the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, has revealed that GORHAM conspired with others to distribute cocaine base (crack) from May 2007, until June 14, 2008, the date of his indictment, and that PUTNEY conspired with others to distribute cocaine base (crack), cocaine powder, and marijuana, from October 2004 to May 15, 2008, the date of his arrest pursuant to a Criminal Complaint.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the Criminal Complaint against PUTNEY, PUTNEY was captured on video distributing 73 grams of cocaine base (crack) and 113.5 grams cocaine powder to a confidential informant cooperating with law enforcement in exchange for $5,000.00. The investigation further revealed that PUTNEY is responsible for the distribution of at least fifty (50) kilograms of cocaine powder in the Halifax County, North Carolina area.

GORHAM and PUTNEY have both remained in federal custody since their arrest, and they each face a mandatory minimum imprisonment of ten years and up to life imprisonment, a fine of up to $4,000,000, and 5 years of supervised release following his term of confinement. They are scheduled to be sentenced in the October 20, 2008, term of court.

It was also announced that in federal court on August 4, 2008, TONY TAYLOR, of Weldon, North Carolina, was sentenced by Senior United States District Court Judge W. Earl Britt to one hundred and four (104) months imprisonment for the distribution of more than five grams of cocaine base (crack), in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1).

In response to these cases, Mr. Holding stated, “The dedication of our state and local law enforcement continues as they seek to identify and apprehend drug traffickers in our communities. Without their assistance, federal prosecution would not be possible. Our gratitude for their hard work and tireless efforts many times go unnoticed. This is an excellent opportunity to showcase their fine work and thank them for it.”

Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Royster served as the prosecutor 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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