News and Press Releases


THURSDAY - April 16, 2009

WILMINGTON - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court yesterday Senior United States District Court Judge James C. Fox sentenced ERNESTO RAYO MORALES, 23, of Duplin County, North Carolina, to 151 months’ imprisonment followed by five years supervised release for conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine and 151 months’ imprisonment on each of the four counts for distribution of methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of methamphetamine to run concurrent with the conspiracy count.

On July 23, 2008, a Federal Grand Jury indicted MORALES. On January 5, 2009, MORALES pled guilty.

Between June 3, 2008, and July 1, 2008, MORALES sold an agent of the government 61 grams of methamphetamine. On July 1, 2008, officers served a search warrant at MORALES’ home. During the search officers found 16 grams of methamphetamine, 3 shotguns, 2 handguns, items used for the distribution of methamphetamine and $27,000 in United States Currency.

This case was brought as a part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation entitled Fire Ants, investigating importers and multi-level dealers of Mexican-made methamphetamine being imported into Eastern, North Carolina. The organization is responsible for the importation and distribution of more than 80 kilograms of methamphetamine into Eastern, North Carolina since 2004.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration-Wilmington, Duplin County Sheriff Department, Department of Community Corrections and the Beaulaville Police Department. Special Assistant United States Attorney Timothy Severo and Assistant United States Attorney Brian S Meyers represented the Government. 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.

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

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