FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MONDAY - March 2, 2009
WILLIAMSTON MAN PLEADS TO DRUG AND FIREARM CHARGES
GREENVILLE - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today ROBERT EARL KEEL, JR., 24, of Williamston, North Carolina, pled guilty before United States Magistrate Judge James E. Gates, to having unlawful possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924 and to being in possession with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine base (crack), in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1).
A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on July 23, 2008. Based on numerous citizen complaints, in early November, 2008, agents with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office made two controlled buys of crack cocaine from KEEL at his residence. On November 20, 2008, the agents obtained and executed a search warrant of the residence. Resulting from the search, agents found crack cocaine and four firearms, a Taurus, Model PT11 9mm semi-automatic pistol; a Smith & Wesson, .45 semi-automatic pistol; a Hi-Point, Model C9, 9mm pistol; and a Ruger, Model P95, 9mm semi-automatic pistol.
For the possession of a firearm charge, KEEL faces up to 10 years imprisonment followed by up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. If deemed an Armed Career Criminal, KEEL could receive a sentence of up to a lifetime term of imprisonment followed by up to five years of supervised release. The maximum penalty for the possession of cocaine charge is up to 20 years imprisonment followed by up to four years of supervised release and a fine of up to $1,000,000.
Sentencing has been set for the June, 2009, term of court.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods 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 Martin County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Jane Jackson 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.