News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

TUESDAY - May 5, 2009

SECOND DEFENDANT SENTENCED IN BURGLARY OF FIREARMS

FROM FEDERAL FIREARMS DEALER

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today United States District Judge James C. Dever, III, sentenced WILLIAM JEFFREY CULVER, 20, of Greenville, North Carolina, to 48 months’ imprisonment followed by three 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, CULVER pled guilty to aiding and abetting the possession of stolen firearms.

The investigation revealed that three or four times between June 30, 2007, and July 2, 2007, CULVER and co-conspirators, John Mardis and Carlos Smith, broke into Big Horn Outfitters (BHO) 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. CULVER, who was the get-away driver and lookout, Mardis, and Smith were identified as the perpetrators of the thefts from BHO when Smith was arrested, on July 11, 2007, on an unrelated warrant and found with some of the firearms stolen from BHO and the residential burglaries in the apartment shared by Mardis and Smith. As a result, a search warrant was executed on Mardis’ and Smith’s residence where nine firearms stolen from BHO were seized along with 16 long guns and other items that had been stolen during residential burglaries. A subsequent search warrant was executed on CULVER’s residence where one firearm stolen from BHO was seized.

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. It was revealed during the investigation that, on July 4, 2007, Thomas had purchased three handguns from CULVER and Mardis. On July 10, 2007, CULVER attempted to sell Thomas an additional two handguns.

Mr. Holding commented, “The stealing of firearms is a serious offense. On the street firearms are a high-value item that are easily sold or traded for drugs, but do harm to innocent citizens. As such we take the theft of firearms very seriously and will prosecute accordingly.”

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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