News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

WEDNESDAY - April 22, 2009

FIREARMS THIEF NETS 10 ½ YEARS IN PRISON

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today United States District Judge James C. Dever, III, sentenced JOHN CHARLES MARDIS, 28, of Greenville, North Carolina, to 126 months’ imprisonment followed by five years supervised release. The Court also imposed restitution in the amount of $8,285.66.

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on October 22, 2008. On January 26, 2009, MARDIS pled guilty to aiding and abetting the theft of a firearm from a federal firearms licensee and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

The investigation revealed that three or four times between June 30, 2007, and July 2, 2007, MARDIS and co-conspirators, Williams Culver and Carlos Smith, broke into Big Horn Outfitters in Greenville, North Carolina, stealing 20 handguns, a rifle, a knife and various ammunition. The three have also been linked to home invasions in Edgecombe, Craven and Pitt counties, in which firearms and other items have been stolen. MARDIS, Culver and Smith were identified as the perpetrators of the thefts from Big Horn Outfitters when Smith was arrested on an unrelated warrant and found with some of the firearms stolen from Big Horn Outfitters and the residential burglaries in the apartment shared by MARDIS and smith. At the same time and in a separate investigation, law enforcement, using a confidential informant, bought cocaine and two stolen firearms from Terrence Thomas, a known drug trafficker. A search warrant executed on July 11, 2007, at the Thomas residence found three additional handguns that had been taken during the Big Horn Outfitters burglaries. It was learned that Thomas purchased the firearms from MARDIS in exchange for cocaine.

Further investigation revealed that MARDIS sold another one of the handguns taken from Big Horn Outfitters for Alvin Grizzard in exchange for 2.5 grams of cocaine.

Mr. Holding commented, “This case is of the utmost concern. These individuals not only broke into the homes of our citizens and stole from them, they also repeatedly stole weapons from a federal firearms dealer. They then were involved in the trading of the stolen firearms for illegal drugs. This type of criminal behavior cannot and will not be tolerated in our district. The Court’s sentence today is designed to reflect the seriousness of the offenses and to deter this kind of criminal behavior.”

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office; and the Greenville Police Department. Special Assistant United States Attorney Glenn Perry was the assigned Prosecutor.Mr. Perry is a prosecutor with the Pitt County District Attorney’s Office.District Attorney Clark Everett 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.

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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