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Press Release

Armed Harnett County Drug Trafficker Sentenced to More Than 17 Years in Prison

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

NEW BERN, N.C. – A Dunn man was sentenced today to 212 months in prison for multiple charges, including drug trafficking and firearms offenses. Anthony Puente, 35, previously pled guilty to distribution of five grams or more of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute a quantity of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine and a quantity of cocaine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  

According to court documents and other information presented in court, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Harnett County Sherriff’s Office oversaw multiple controlled purchases from Puente. In addition, an agent with the Dunn Police Department who was patrolling local hotels based on reports of increased narcotics activity in the area, observed Puente’s vehicle in two of the hotel parking lots. The officer approached Puente’s vehicle and, after detecting the odor of marijuana, asked Puente to exit the car. Puente consented to a weapons frisk, which uncovered 40 grams of crystal methamphetamine, five grams of cocaine and two grams of marijuana. After finding the drugs on Puente, the officer conducted a search of the car which yielded a 9mm pistol, six rounds of 9mm ammunition, 16 12-gauge shot gun shells, and additional amounts of marijuana and methamphetamine.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office and the Dunn Police Department investigated the case and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey Peaden  prosecuted the case.

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. 5:20-CR-297-FL and 5:21-CR-189-FL.


Updated June 8, 2023

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses