News and Press Releases


FRIDAY - May 9, 2008


NEW BERN - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court on May 7, 2008, United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced ERNEST LEE SMITH, 40, of Bladen County, North Carolina, to 262 months’ imprisonment and three years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment. SMITH was deemed an Armed Career Criminal.

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Superseding Indictment on January 23, 2008.On February 4, 2008, SMITH pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1), and during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, carrying a firearm, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1).

On April 6, 2007, Bladen County Narcotics Detectives received a tip of a drug deal happening at the McDonald’s in Elizabethtown. Surveillance was set up and detectives noted the purchase. SMITH was apprehended. Upon a search of SMITH, crack and money were found. Also, a firearm was recovered from SMITH’s vehicle.

Mr. Holding commented on this case: “Elizabethtown is one of our smaller communities but it is not immune to the dangers of drug trafficking. We are pleased to partner with the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office and ATF to address this problem.”

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Michael G. James is the assigned prosecutor.

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

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