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Press Release

Ash Man Sentenced to 120 Months in Prison for Drug Trafficking & Firearm Offense

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

RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today in federal court, Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced VICTOR DEMETRIOUS WATSON, 27, of Ash, North Carolina, to 120 months in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release.

WATSON was charged in a three-count Superseding Indictment filed on May 16, 2018.  On August 13, 2018, WATSON pled guilty to one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute a Quantity of Heroin, and one count of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime.

An investigation was initiated by the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) after receiving anonymous information regarding WATSON being in possession of stolen firearms.  On December 6, 2017, the BCSO received an anonymous tip that WATSON was in possession of numerous stolen firearms and was in the process of “moving” them. 

On December 6, 2017, in an attempt to determine if WATSON was in possession of stolen firearms, two confidential informants, CI1 and CI2, were sent to WATSON’S home in order to conduct a controlled purchase of heroin.  The CIs met WATSON at the back door of WATSON’S home and purchased 10 bindles1 (1 gram) of heroin from him for $80.  Based upon the CIs’ observations, WATSON possessed an additional 40 to 50 bindles of heroin.  

Investigators executed a search of WATSON’S home and vehicle on December 7, 2017.  Law enforcement located a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun and a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, one box of .40 caliber ammunition, one box of 9 mm ammunition, 44 bags (4.4 grams) of heroin, 23 units of Alprazolam, 1 unit Acetaminophen/Oxycodone hydrochloride (10 milligrams), and $330 which included the $80 of buy money. Prior to being taken into federal custody, WATSON admitted the firearms and heroin were his.  Law enforcement determined the firearms had not been reported stolen.

This prosecution is part of an extensive investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).  OCDETF is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.

That effort has been implemented through the Take Back North Carolina Initiative of The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.  This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.

This case was brought by the United States Attorney’s Office through partnership with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott A. Lemmon.

Updated February 19, 2019

Drug Trafficking