News and Press Releases


TUESDAY - February 7, 2012


RALEIGH - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court on today Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever III, sentenced ELWOOD JOSEPH CEPHUS, 45, of Manteo, North Carolina, to 144 months imprisonment followed by four years supervised release at the expiration of this sentence. On July 14, 2011, a Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment charging CEPHUS. On October 3, 2011, CEPHUS pled guilty to conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 or more grams of cocaine.

Between April and May of 2010, three controlled purchases of cocaine were made at the direction of the Dare County Sheriff’s Office in which CEPHUS participated. On March 10, 2011, the Dare County Sheriff’s Narcotics Unit conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle in which CEPHUS was a passenger. A quantity of crack cocaine was recovered. The investigation revealed that between 2009 and March, 2011, CEPHUS was involved in the distribution of more than three kilograms of cocaine.

This case was brought as a part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation entitled Dare Devil, investigating importers and multi-level distributors of cocaine and cocaine base (crack) into Dare and Currituck Counties. To date, 10 people have been sentenced in federal court as a part of this operation.

Investigation of this “OCEDTF” case is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement, the Currituck County Sheriff’s Office, the Dare County Sheriff’s Office, the Nags Head Police Department and the Kill Devil Hills Police Department. Special Assistant United States Attorney Timothy Severo represents the government. 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.

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