FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
SATURDAY - April 10, 2010
DURHAM MAN RECEIVES 288 MONTHS
IMPRISONMENT ON GUN CHARGES ARISING FROM
COUNTERFEITING AND DRUG DEALING RING
RALEIGH – United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court on April 8, 2010, United States District Judge James C. Dever, III, sentenced PETERA MICALE CARLTON, 34, of Durham, North Carolina, to 288 months’ imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release.
A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on June 18, 2009 charging CARLTON and co-defendant Marcus Nelums with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and possessing a firearm while being a convicted felon. On December 14, 2009, CARLTON pled guilty to Count Two of the Indictment for using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c).
This case originated as an investigation by the Duplin County Sheriff’s Office into allegations of identity theft. On March 7, 2008, Duplin County Officers searched the residence of Melissa Payton in Faison, North Carolina. Inside the residence, officers discovered large quantities of evidence of counterfeiting of United States Federal Reserve Notes, as well as evidence linking the residence to credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft. Officers also discovered approximately ½ kilogram of cocaine (which contained crack cocaine), a .25 caliber firearm, a .45 caliber firearm, and ammunition. The drugs and guns were found in the attic of the residence. Linwood Smith and Jokwan Harvey were also hiding the house at the time of the search.
The United States Secret Service became involved in the case to investigate the counterfeiting and aggravated identity theft crimes. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also became involved to assist in the investigation of the firearms and drugs. Over the process of several months with the assistance of this office, the Secret Service first learned that Jokwan Harvey had been committing credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft through the use of his computer at the residence of Melissa Payton. Harvey had stolen credit card numbers from various victims and used them to purchase merchandise which was then shipped to locations adjacent to Payton’s residence. Several stolen credit card numbers and other evidence of identity theft were recovered by authorities at the time of the search of Payton’s residence.
The Secret Service and ATF also learned that Melissa Payton and Felisa Carlton had assisted Linwood Smith and Jokwan Harvey to manufacture approximately $20,000 in counterfeit currency at the residence. At the time, Payton was a girlfriend of Harvey and Carlton was a girlfriend of Smith. According to the investigation, the four individuals, Payton, Carlton, Smith, and Harvey, manufactured the counterfeit to rip off a Mexican drug dealer of 1 kilogram of cocaine. Then, Linwood Smith, with the assistance of Jokwan Harvey arranged a deal with the Mexican to trade the counterfeit currency for the cocaine. Ultimately, it was discovered that Smith associated with two other individuals, Marcus Nelums and PETERA CARLTON, to conduct the exchange. At this time, CARLTON was on supervised release for a prior felon in possession of a firearm judgment he received in the Middle District of North Carolina. Linwood Smith and Jokwan Harvey drove to the scene of the transaction with firearms and served as backup. PETERA CARLTON and Marcus Nelums drove a separate vehicle to conduct the exchange. According to the investigation, instead of using the counterfeit to obtain the kilo of cocaine, PETERA CARLTON pulled and fired a weapon at the Mexican, stole the drugs, and fled the scene. The participants then rendezvoused and split the kilo of cocaine in half. Ultimately, one half of the cocaine (and the firearms used in the transaction), were seized during the search of the Payton residence.
CARLTON’s guilty plea was the last in connection with the counterfeiting, identity theft, drug, and gun charges arising out of the search of the Payton residence in Faison. All participants in the scheme have now pled guilty and have further attempted to cooperate with the United States:
-Payton previously pled guilty to manufacturing counterfeit and was sentenced to four months custody followed by three years supervised release.
-Felisa Carlton previously pled guilty to manufacturing counterfeit and received 4 years custody, followed by three years supervised release.
-Jokwan Harvey previously pled guilty to manufacturing counterfeit, possessing 15 unauthorized access devices, and aggravated identity theft, for which he was sentenced to 48 months imprisonment, followed by 3 years supervised release.
-Marcus Nelums previously pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and possessing a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, for which he received a sentence of 78 months’ imprisonment, followed by 5 years supervised release.
-Linwood Smith previously pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. Smith was sentenced as a “career offender” and received 180 months’ imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised release.
As the last to cooperate, CARLTON received the most severe sentence - 288 months imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release. CARLTON will be almost 60 years old when he is released from prison.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the United States Secret Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Duplin County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore represented 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.