News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

MONDAY - June 15, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE FELON PLEADS GUILTY TO FIREARM CHARGES

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today DEREK LACONIA SYKES, 33, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, pled guilty before United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle to unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(1), which carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment followed by up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. If the Court finds that SYKES is an Armed Career Criminal, he could face up to life imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release.

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on February 19, 2009.

On May 28, 2008, law enforcement responded to a domestic call of shots fired at a residence located on McLamb Drive in Fayetteville. Upon arriving, the officer spoke with an individual who stated that SYKES became upset and a confrontation occurred because the individual’s car was parked in front of the SYKES’ residence. During the argument, SYKES shot a handgun into the air several times. SYKES then went into his house and returned with a rifle which he also shot into the air. SYKES then fled back into his house when the police were alerted.

Law enforcement then spoke with SYKES’ mother at her residence. The officer received consent to search the residence for the guns and SYKES, where he was found hiding in a bathtub. In addition, a .22 bolt action rifle and a 7.62 mm SKS rifle were found nearby.

Mr. Holding commented, “Here is another example of how well the PSN Program is working. Local authorities identified an issue and brought it to the federal authorities. All of us together, working hand-in-hand, are tackling the issue of convicted felons who are found possessing firearms. We will continue this teamwork to help make our communities safer.”

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) which encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Fayetteville Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Ethan Ontjes served as prosecutor for the government.

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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