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Press Release

Aryan Brotherhood Member Receives More Than 14 Years in Prison for His Involvement in a Methamphetamine Trafficking Organization

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

NEW BERN, N.C. – Brian Pearce, 27, of Onslow County was sentenced today to 176 months in prison for Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess With Intent to Distribute Five Hundred (500) Grams or More of Methamphetamine and Possession With Intent to Distribute a Quantity of Methamphetamine.  On June 4, 2020, Pearce pled guilty to these charges.

According to court documents and evidence presented in court, on April 12, 2019, Pearce, Bradley Henderson and a third person drove to a residence in the Farmville area to purchase a pound of methamphetamine. They had previously paid for the methamphetamine.  The three were waiting for the methamphetamine and concerned they were going to be robbed. Pearce kicked in the door of the residence. Pearce produced a handgun and fired a round into the floor and demanded the methamphetamine.  They received 8 ounces of methamphetamine and left.  On the way back they observed a police checkpoint.  They failed to stop at the checkpoint.  Officers pursued the vehicle which made one turn and abruptly stopped when Pearce jumped out of the vehicle and fled on foot. Pearce hid the methamphetamine and handgun in the woods.  Pearce returned for the items after he bonded out of jail and retrieved the methamphetamine but was unable to find the handgun.  The handgun was later recovered by law enforcement.

On May 6, 2019, the Holly Ridge Police Department conducted a traffic stop where Pearce was the driver. Two bags of methamphetamine were recovered from the driver’s seat and two bags of methamphetamine were recovered from Pearce. Additionally, officers located chunks of loose methamphetamine scattered in the front passenger area.

On May 22, 2019, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office detectives conducted surveillance at a residence in Snead’s Ferry for narcotics and gang activity. Pearce was a passenger in a truck outside of the residence. Pearce was detained at the scene; he requested a cigarette from a pack inside the truck. A detective retrieved the cigarette pack and located a small quantity of methamphetamine. Detectives searched the residence which also appeared to be a clubhouse for the gang and found more than an ounce of methamphetamine, several firearms and gang paraphernalia.  According to law enforcement Pearce was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood and occupied a position of leadership in the organization.

The investigation uncovered that between 2016 and May 22, 2019, Pearce was involved in the distribution of nearly four kilograms of methamphetamine. Pearce and another person had also exchanged methamphetamine for heroin in the Maple Hill Area.  

Bradley Henderson was previously sentenced federally for his role in this conspiracy and received an active sentence of 110 months.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at This OCDETF focuses on a Multi-State Drug Trafficking Organization and Gang Activity that has been responsible for the distribution of large quantities extremely pure methamphetamine throughout the United States.

G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. The Drug Enforcement Administration, the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Duplin County Sheriff’s Office, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, and the Holly Ridge Police Department investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Severo  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. 7:19-CR-139-FL-5.


Updated April 23, 2021

Drug Trafficking