FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MONDAY - March 22, 2010
ROBBERS PLEAD GUILTY
WILMINGTON - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today two defendants pled guilty before Senior United States District Judge James C. Fox to charges stemming from the armed robberies of the Dollar General Store in Pine Level, North Carolina. RONALD DURON MCBRIDE, 22, and CHRISTOPHER DEMARCUS BETHEA, 32, each pled guilty to one count of aiding and abetting the robbery of a business in interstate commerce, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951 and one count each of use and carry of a firearm during a federal crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c).
A Federal Grand Jury returned a Superseding Criminal Indictment on February 24, 2010.
On April 20, 2009, the Dollar General Store in Pine Level, North Carolina, was robbed at gunpoint. Approximately two weeks later, on May 4, 2009, MCBRIDE entered the same Dollar General Store and robbed it at gunpoint. Witnesses reported the robber getting into and leaving in a green SUV. The vehicle was found a short time later at a residence in Pine Level. Officers, going to the residence, found BETHEA on the front porch. A consent to search was given and officers found MCBRIDE hiding under a pile of blankets on a bed in the bedroom. A search warrant was obtained and in BETHEA’s bedroom officer’s found a Tanfoglio Armi Giussepe pistol and a Dollar General bag containing $526.00. A Lorcin Model Lt-25, .25 caliber pistol was found where MCBRIDE had been hiding.
Both defendants were identified as the robbers; BETHEA as the robber on April 20, 2009, and MCBRIDE as the robber on May 4, 2009.
At sentencing, scheduled for June 7, 2010, for the aiding and abetting charge, each defendant faces up to 20 years imprisonment followed by up to three years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. For the charge of use and carry of a firearm, each defendant faces up to life imprisonment, consecutive to any other sentence, followed by up to five years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
This case was part of the 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 this case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Pine Level Police Department; the Selma Police Department; the Princeton Police Department; and the Micro Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Jane Jackson represented the government.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce