FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
THURSDAY - August 14, 2008
NEW BERN - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that on August 13, 2008, Chief United States District Court Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced Arjun Oshea BELL, also known as “Munchie”, 33, of Wilmington, North Carolina, to 400 months’ imprisonment and five years of supervised release following his term of confinement.
On August 13, 2007, BELL pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with the intent to Distribute more than 500 grams of Cocaine and more than 50 grams of Cocaine Base (Crack), in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846.
The defendant is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation entitled Operation Monarch. The investigation found that BELL was part of a drug trafficking organization that was responsible for distributing over 700 kilograms of cocaine from Atlanta, Georgia to the Wilmington, North Carolina, area. BELL had been distributing for the organization since 2004 until the time of his arrest. BELL also recruited at least one person to cook powdered cocaine into crack so that it could be distributed. Bell was also involved in the distribution of heroin and ecstasy. The investigation also revealed that BELL had carried a firearm as part of his drug trafficking activities. Drug Enforcement Administration agents utilized a Title III wiretap in this investigation. The investigation has resulted in the successful prosecution of 10 federal defendants to date and is still on-going.
According to the evidence presented at the sentencing hearing, after previously appearing in a federal court on this matter, BELL made a telephone call warning an associate about the on-going federal investigation. BELL furthered advised this person of the names of several targets of the investigation and warned that law enforcement might be attempting to purchase narcotics from them. The defendant was found to have obstructed justice based upon these actions.
Mr. Holding commented on the Court’s sentence: “Judge Flanagan’s 400-month sentence sends an extraordinary message. Would be drug traffickers and those who distract the investigation of these crimes will be held to account in federal court.”
Investigation of the case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the Wilmington Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Michael G. James and Special Assistant United States Attorney Timothy Severo are the assigned Prosecutors. Mr. Severo is a prosecutor with the New Hanover District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney Ben David has assigned him to the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force criminal matters. This has been made possible by a grant funded by the Governor’s Crime Commission and the New Hanover County Commissioners.
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