News and Press Releases

project safe neighborhoods: america’s network against gun violence in the eastern district of north carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2013

FAYETTEVILLE – Thomas G. Walker, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announced today that the United States Attorney’s Office is continuing in their battle against gun violence. The Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program continues to encourage federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime.

Since 2002, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina, working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and other federal and state agencies has committed itself to aggressively pursue the goals of Project Safe Neighborhoods.

These goals include the opportunity to give identified offenders a second chance to become productive citizens by conducting offender notification meetings in which not only the stiff consequences of their actions are explained but offers of assistance through community resources such as drug treatment, housing and employment are provided.

However, if the offender continues commiting crimes, the District Attorney’s Office frequently will forego the state prosecution of gun crime, in lieu of federal prosecution, where the offender’s sentence is greater under federal guidelines than the State’s guidelines.

Last week, a Federal Grand Jury returned indictments on 12 individuals from the Fayetteville area who were charged with firearm and other related violations. These individuals were arrested this week and have had their initial appearances.

LONNELL DEANGELO MCRAE, 26, has been charged with robbery of a business in interstate commerce, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951; brandishing a firearm during a federal crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c); carjacking, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2119; unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (2 counts), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c); and possession of a stolen firearm, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(j). Previous media coverage reported that MCRAE entered the Little Vegas sweepstakes parlor on Owen Drive, displaying handguns, and after assaulting two individuals in the establishment and taking an undisclosed amount of money, stole a customer’s vehicle when fleeing. The maximum penalty is up to a life-term of imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

DONQUIEZ FRANKIE WILBRIDGE, 24, was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924. According to previous media reports, on December 2, 2012, WILBRIDGE fired a gun at a off-duty deputies that were at a Waffle House restaurant. The maximum penalty is up to 10 years imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

CRISTOPHER DEAN GILBERT, 23, was charged in a nine-count Indictment, with one count of conspiring to commit Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951; three counts of Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1951 and 2; one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 924(c)(1)(A) and 924(c)(1)(A)(ii). According to the Indictment, between October 24, 2012, and December 1, 2012, GILBERT robbed three Taco Bell restaurants in the Fayetteville area. The Indictment further details how GILBERT forced his way into each restaurant. The maximum penalty is up to life imprisonment followed by five years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

CHRISTOPHER HAGEN, 25, was charged in a three-count Indictment with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1); discharging a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c); and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g). The maximum penalty is up to 20 years imprisonment followed by up to five years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. If deemed an Armed Career Criminal, the maximum penalty is up to life imprisonment.

KAREEM DESHAUN GRISSETT, 22, has been charged with two counts of possession of a stolen firearm, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(j) and 924(a)(2). The maximum penalty is up to 10 years imprisonment followed by up to three years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

ROBERT TYCELL LOCKHART, 23, was charged with possession with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine base (crack), in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1); possession with intent to distribute a quantity of oxycodone, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1); and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1). The maximum penalty is up to life imprisonment followed by up to five years supervised release and a fine of up to $1,000,000.

ARON LAMAR SEARCY, 27, was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The maximum penalty is up to 10 years imprisonment followed by up to three years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. If deemed an Armed Career Criminal, the maximum penalty is up to life imprisonment.

CONFESSOR LUIS SOTO, 40, was charged in a three-count Indictment with unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924; possession with intent to distribute more than 100 grams of Heroin and a quantity of cocaine, in violation of Title 21, Untied States Code, Section 841(a)(1); and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c). The maximum penalty is up to a life-term of imprisonment followed by up to five years of supervised release. A Forfeiture Notice has been filed that includes a Chinese Type 56-1, 7.52x39 caliber rifle; a Raven Arms, model MP-25, .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun; and ammunition.

CHRIS EMANUEL STEWART, 35, was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924. The maximum penalty is up to 10 years imprisonment followed by up to three years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. If deemed an Armed Career Criminal, the maximum penalty is up to a life-term of imprisonment.

PERRY LAMONT SYKES, 35, was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924. The maximum penalty is up to 10 years imprisonment followed by up to three years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. If deemed an Armed Career Criminal, the maximum penalty is up to a life-term of imprisonment.

BRIAN KEITH TATE, 37, of Raeford, North Carolina, has been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924. The maximum penalty is up to 10 years imprisonment followed by up to three years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. If deemed an Armed Career Criminal, the maximum penalty is up to a life-term of imprisonment.

VICTOR WHITE, 37, has been charged in a three-count Indictment with possession with intent to distribute a quantity of marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1); possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A); and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924. The maximum penalty is up to a life-term of imprisonment followed by up to five years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

Other recent noteworthy prosecutions include:

JARVIS MCCOY was sentenced to 264 months imprisonment on April 10, 2013, for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base (crack) and a quantity of cocaine. According to the investigation, several controlled purchases were performed by the Fayetteville Police Department. Search warrants were executed at MCCOY’s residence where powder cocaine, crack cocaine, drug packaging and manufacturing materials, and cash were found.

MAJOR RAY BROWN was sentenced to 132 months imprisonment on March 20, 2013, for distributing a quantity of cocaine base (crack) and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The investigation revealed that from August, 2010, to December, 2011, BROWN trafficked in crack and powder cocaine and firearms. On several occasions during this period, BROWN sold the drugs and firearms to confidential informants working under the direction of law enforcement.

ROBERT TYRONE CAMPBELL was sentenced to 188 months imprisonment on November 13, 2012, for unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. According to the investigation, Fayetteville police received a 9-1-1 call regarding a home invasion, during which 1 shotgun, 2 handguns, 4 rifles, and a laptop were stolen. The investigation revealed that four rifles had been pawned at Jim’s Gun and Pawn Shop and the transactions were recorded on video surveillance. The pawn ticket also revealed CAMPBELL as the person who sold the weapons and the weapons were identified by the owner as having been stolen from his residence.

LEROY EARL LOVELL received 190 months imprisonment on July 25, 2012, for conspiring to distribute and possessing with intent to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. According to court evidence, in April, 2009, a parcel containing illegal narcotics, mailed in Tucson, Arizona, to an address in Fayetteville, North Carolina, came to the attention Arizona law enforcement. The parcel was intercepted in North Carolina by law enforcement and a controlled delivery performed. LOVELL accepted the package and placed it in his vehicle. A traffic stop was performed and after a brief foot chase, LOVELL was apprehended. Inside the parcel, 10 pounds of marijuana was found.

BILLY JOE SCOTT was sentenced to 384 months imprisonment on January 11, 2012, for brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. From November 29, 2010, to January 4, 2011, SCOTT robbed the same Exxon station in Fayetteville four different times. During the last robbery, the clerk was able to sound a silent alarm, to which law enforcement responded. A foot chase ensued to a nearby trailer park where SCOTT was seen stuffing items under one of the trailers. Following SCOTT’s apprehension, a search for the items was begun. A .32 caliber Smith and Wesson Long Model 732 handgun was located.

RAMONE ETHRIDGE received a 120-month sentence on March 15, 2012, for possessing a stolen firearm. According to the investigation, on January 8, 2010, law enforcement received a 9-1-1 call regarding a residential break-in in Cumberland County. A description of the vehicle that had backed into the residence’s driveway and an account of how two men had gotten out of the vehicle, pried open the door to the residence, and taken a television, a game station and two firearms, was given. The vehicle was located and a traffic stop was attempted, however, the driver fled. The vehicle crashed and the occupants, later identified as ETHRIDGE and co-defendant Jerry Donnell Thompson, fled on foot. They were apprehended and inside the vehicle law enforcement found the stolen items.

ANTWOINE SHAVEZZ STANLEY pled guilty on February 12, 2013, to possessing with intent to distribute a quantity of marijuana and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. In April, 2012, Fayetteville police located a suspicious package in the United Parcel Service warehouse. A K-9 officer alerted positive to the presence of narcotics within the package. A search warrant was obtained and six pounds of marijuana was identified in the package. A controlled delivery was conducted, with STANLEY taking possession of the package. Searches of STANLEY’s residence and vehicle were performed. Law enforcement found 1.2354 kilograms of marijuana, 3 grams of synthetic marijuana, $1,800 in cash, a ballistic vest, and a loaded revolver and ammunition.

The ATF Task Force in Fayetteville receives cases on a daily basis for federal prosecution and continues their commitment to assisting in those prosecutions.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

 

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