News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

WEDNESDAY - May 5, 2010

CRACK COCAINE DEALER FROM SCOTLAND NECK

SENTENCED TO 23 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court on May 4, 2010, LANCE WHITAKER, 28, of Scotland Neck, North Carolina, was sentenced by United States District Judge James C. Dever, III, to 276 months in federal prison for participating in a drug conspiracy and being a felon in possession of a firearm. WHITAKER has been in federal custody since his arrest on August 12, 2009.

On December 14, 2009, WHITAKER pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of “crack” cocaine, a quantity of cocaine, and a quantity of marijuana. WHITAKER also pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

This case was part of Operation Burnout, an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation, being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, and the Nash County Sheriff’s Office targeting multi-level drug traffickers in and around the Halifax and Nash County areas. To date, 29 individuals have been arrested on federal drug charges as part of this investigation. Agents with the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement and the Scotland Neck Police Department were instrumental to the prosecution of WHITAKER. The investigation revealed that WHITAKER was responsible for the distribution of more than 1,300 grams of crack cocaine and approximately 40 kilograms of cocaine powder since as early as 2000. He was considered a manager or supervisor in the drug conspiracy and possessed firearms during his participation. WHITAKER had previously been convicted of two felony drug convictions in 1999 for possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, and spent five months in state prison.

Mr. Holding commented, The cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement is essential to dismantling the drug conspiracies operating in our district. We are thankful for the hard work and dedication of the officers in this case. Their fine work led to another drug dealer being taken off the streets for a very long time.”

Assistant United States Attorney Josh Royster served as the 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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