News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

WEDNESDAY - September 29, 2010

FRANKLINTON COUPLE SENTENCED

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court yesterday United States District Judge James C. Dever III, sentenced a husband and wife for their part in a marijuana growing operation. DAVID CLARKE, 40, received 84 months’ imprisonment for his part in the operation, while his wife, WHITNEY CLARKE, 32, received 48 months’ imprisonment.

A three-count Criminal Information was filed on January 11, 2010, charging DAVID CLARKE with conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, conspiring to commit money laundering, and possession of a machine gun. On March 22, 2010, he pled guilty to the charges. WHITNEY CLARKE was charged by Criminal Information on May 4, 2010, and pled guilty on June 7, 2010 to conspiring to commit money laundering.

On August 11, 2009, search warrants were executed on CLARKE’s Franklinton and Youngsville residences in which law enforcement discovered a large indoor marijuana growing operation along with ammunition reloading equipment.

Mr. Holding commented, “This significant grow operation has been dismantled thanks to the hard work of federal agents and state and local officers. We will continue to prosecute, using every mechanism available, those who obtain financial gain through illicit means.”

“IRS-CI together with the law enforcement community are united in our resolve to financially disrupt criminals. Those who deal in narcotics will not profit from their misdeeds,” stated Jeannine A. Hammett, Special Agent in Charge IRS-Criminal Investigation.

The investigation was coordinated between the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division, the Wake County ABC, and the Wake and Franklin County Sheriffs’ Offices. The arrests ended a six-year drug conspiracy in which hundreds of pounds of hydroponic marijuana were distributed throughout North Carolina and millions of dollars in illicit gains were made. In addition to marijuana, officers seized numerous motor vehicles, a boat, a currency counting machine, 59 weapons, including a fully automatic machine gun, real property in Franklin and Wake counties, and thousands of dollars in U.S. currency.

Special Assistant United States Attorney Deborah Shandles represents the government. Ms. Shandles is a prosecutor with the Wake County District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney C. Colon Willoughby has assigned her to the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute federal 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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