News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

WEDNESDAY - February 17, 2010

WILMINGTON MAN SENTENCED IN DRUG DISTRIBUTION CASE

NEW BERN - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court on February 11, 2010, Chief United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced a 61-years-old, Wilmington, North Carolina, man, WINDELL NORWOOD HICKS, in an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Operation (OCDETF) investigation entitled Operation Monarch. HICKS received 160 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release.

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on January 29, 2009. On October 5, 2009, HICKS pled guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of 50 grams of cocaine base (crack) and a quantity of cocaine and more than 100 grams of heroin.

The investigation centered around the possession with intent to distribute and distribution of substantial amounts of heroin obtained in the New York City area and brought to Wilmington, North Carolina for sale. The investigation began as a cocaine distribution investigation and during the course of the investigation agents discovered a heroin distribution ring. HICKS ran a grocery store, Ruth’s Grocery Store, in Wilmington, North Carolina, and distributed controlled substances, including heroin from inside the store to other drug traffickers.

Mr. Holding commented, “We continue to see success through OCDETF operations. These investigations target some of our most prolific drug distribution networks operating across state and national borders. These investigations are essential if we are going to defeat drug trafficking in North Carolina.”

Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division stated, “We removed another crack and heroin trafficker from the streets. This criminal can no longer distribute doses of poison to the Wilmington community. The sentencing is appropriate for the crimes that he committed. This investigation was a success because of the great working relationship that DEA has with its federal, state and local counterparts.”

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, State Bureau of Investigation, and Wilmington Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael G. James and Timothy Severo are the assigned prosecutors. Mr. Severo is a prosecutor with the New Hanover District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney Ben David 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 and the New Hanover County Commissioners.

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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