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Press Release

Armed Drug Trafficker Receives 120 Month Sentence After a Traffic Stop in Wilmington Results in the Seizure of Fentanyl, Crack Cocaine, and a Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

WILMINGTON, N.C. – A Lumberton man was sentenced today to 120 months in federal prison for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. On September 26, 2023, Elhodge Malik Kirby, age 48, pled guilty to the charges.

According to court documents and other information presented in court, on August 17, 2021, officers with the Wilmington Police Department and New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Mobile Field Force conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle in which Mr. Kirby was the front seat passenger. A narcotics K9 responded to the scene and detected the odor of narcotics coming from the vehicle and officers conducted a search. In a plastic bag on the front passenger’s floorboard, officers located approximately 24 grams of a heroin and fentanyl mixture, approximately 11 grams of crack cocaine, a digital scale with white powdery residue, and a Narcan box containing 157 empty and unused wax bindles used to package narcotics. Under the front passenger’s seat, officers located a .22 caliber pistol. Subsequent laboratory testing revealed the presence of Kirby’s DNA on the pistol.

The investigation revealed that Mr. Kirby came to Wilmington from Lumberton to distribute narcotics due to the high demand. The investigation also revealed that between July 2021 and August of 2021, Mr. Kirby was responsible for the possession and/or distribution of over 450 grams of crack cocaine, 24 grams of fentanyl, and possessing two firearms in connection with his drug trafficking activities.

Mr. Kirby has a substantial criminal history dating back to 1992. His prior convictions include, but are not limited to, Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver Cocaine, Assault on a Government Official, Felony Breaking or Entering, Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.

Michael F. Easley, Jr. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle.  The FBI’s Coastal Carolina Task Force, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Mobile Field Force Task Force, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, the Wilmington Police Department’s Gun Crime Task Force, and the Wilmington Police Department investigated the case and Special Assistant United States Attorney William Van Trigt prosecuted the case.  Mr. Van Trigt is a prosecutor with the New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office.  District Attorney Ben David has assigned him to the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute federal violent crimes and other criminal matters.  This has been made possible by a grant funded by New Hanover County.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 7:23-cr-00013BO-001.

Updated January 8, 2024

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