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WILMINGTON - United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced that three defendants in the investigation, entitled Operation Monarch, an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation were sentenced. The investigation centered around the possession with intent to distribute and distribution of substantial amounts of cocaine from Atlanta, Georgia, to the Wilmington, North Carolina, area. Drug Enforcement Administration agents utilized a Title III wiretap in the investigation. During the Title III investigation agents intercepted coded conversations indicating cocaine would be delivered to x-Slave Fashions, a clothing store located in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Senior United States District Judge James C. Fox sentenced ANTHONY EARL HALL, 32, of Atlanta, George, to 196' months imprisonment and 5 years supervised release. HALL was a drug courier in the organization and on March 26, 2007, pleaded guilty to a two-count criminal information that charged him with possession with intent to distribute more than five (5) kilograms of cocaine and to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

In separate cases relating to the investigation, ROMANO HANSLEY, JR., 43, and CARMEN SUAREZ, 34 or 44, both of Wilmington, North Carolina, were sentenced before Chief United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. HANSLEY received 216 months’ imprisonment and 5 years supervised release, after pleading guilty on July 17, 2007, to conspiring with others to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. SUAREZ received 87 months’ imprisonment and 5 years of supervised release after pleading guilty on November 13, 2007, to aiding and abetting and possession with intent to distribute more than five grams of cocaine base (crack) and a quantity of cocaine. To date four separately charged but case related defendants, Christopher Columbus Gause, Joe Nathaniel McCray, James Adolph Brown, and Howard Lee Delts have been sentenced. Three defendants still await sentencing. Bryan Alexander Walker, Arjun Bell, and Lee Anthony Braggs will be sentenced at a later date to be determined by the Court. The investigation remains ongoing.

The law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation are the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the Wilmington Police Department. Special Assistant United States Attorney Timothy Severo and Assistant United States Attorney Michael G. James are the assigned prosecutors. Special Assistant United States Attorney 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 (OCDETF) criminal matters. This has been made possible by a grant funded by the Governor’s Crime Commission and the New Hanover County Commissioners


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

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