FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TUESDAY - March 10, 2009
PAIR RECEIVES PRISON TIME FOR DRUG CHARGES
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court here yesterday United States District Judge W. Earl Britt, sentenced ASHLEY WOODARD, 22, of Bailey, North Carolina, and LATRICIA NICOLE CUTLER, 36, of Elm City, North Carolina on drug trafficking and related charges. WOODARD was sentenced to 57 months’ imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release. CUTLER received 195 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release.
A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on September 18, 2008. On December 1, 2008, both defendants pled guilty to conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base (crack). Additionally, CUTLER pled to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.
After receiving information regarding drug trafficking activity in the Nashville and Rocky Mount areas, the Nash County Sheriff’s Office initiated an investigation, which revealed a loose-knit drug conspiracy involving WOODARD, CUTLER, and two co-defendants, Stephen Hardison and Cornelius Morgan. During the course of the investigation, four controlled buys from CUTLER orWOODARD ofcrack cocaine from January 17, 2008 to March 26, 2008, were arranged. Prior to a January, 2008, controlled purchase, officers conducted a traffic stop of CUTLER’s vehicle. Search of CUTLER and her vehicle revealed a bag containing a mixture of narcotics she retrieved from her pocket, along with an unloaded Ruger, P97 handgun; a loaded magazine; a police scanner; two cellular phones; 1.3 grams of MDMA; 2.7 grams of powder cocaine; and 9.1 grams of crack cocaine. Further investigation revealed that WOODARD began selling crack cocaine in 2003, but quit when his supply source was incarcerated. In 2007, he resumed his drug trafficking activities.
Mr. Holding commented, “We continue to try to deter individuals from the life of drug dealing through more severe sentencings given at the federal level. Here is another example of that attempt. We are, again, sending out a warning to those dealing in illegal drugs that we are zealously seeking more severe penalties.”
Investigation of the case was conducted by the Nash County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Wells served as prosecutor for the government.
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