News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

MONDAY - May 18, 2009

MOUNT OLIVE FELON PLEADS GUILTY

TO POSSESSING A FIREARM

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today DURAN JEFFREY WARD, 38, of Mount Olive, 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).

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on March 18, 2009. On July 28, 2008, officers with the Mount Olive Police Department responded to a domestic disturbance call at a residence on Hillsboro Street in Mount Olive, North Carolina. The caller also stated that WARD was armed with a sawed-off shotgun. When officers arrived at the residence, the inside of the house was dark. An officer approached with his flashlight illuminated. In the livingroom, the officer saw WARD with the shotgun. When the officer ordered WARD to drop the weapon, WARD ran into a bedroom. The officer then ordered WARD to come out of the bedroom, which he did, but without the shotgun. The bedroom was searched and under the mattress officers found an Ithaca, double-barrel, 12-gauge shotgun.

The maximum penalty for the charge is up to 10 years imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release. If deemed to be an Armed Career Criminal by the Court, WARD faces sentencing enhancements of up to life imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.00.

WARD’s previous felonious convictions include sell/deliver of a counterfeit controlled substance, conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, larceny from the person, and two counts each of common law robbery and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

Mr. Holding stated, “The PSN program was designed to take previously convicted felons who are armed off the street with longer federal sentences in order to make our communities safer for our citizens. We continue to work with other law enforcement agencies to attain this goal. We know that without their assistance we would not be able to accomplished this mission.”

Sentencing has been set for the August 31, 2009, term of court.

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 Mount Olive 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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