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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of North Carolina

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Clayton Man Sentenced for Theft of Firearms

NEW BERN – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that yesterday, United States District Judge, Louise W. Flanagan sentenced CEDRICK JERMAINE WILLIAMS, 24, of Clayton, North Carolina, to 120 months imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release.

WILLIAMS was named in a four-count Superseding Indictment on August 2, 2018.  On February 15, 2018, WILLIAMS pled guilty to the Theft of Firearms from a Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer.

On November 23, 2016, investigators with the Clayton Police Department (CPD), were dispatched to reports of a burglary at Trigger Happy Guns and Accessories in Clayton.  Investigators determined that the perpetrator, later identified as WILLIAMS, gained access to the building by breaking the glass panes in the front door of the business.  WILLIAMS initially entered the business, but soon left without taking any property.  WILLIAMS returned a short time later carrying a cinderblock, which he used to break another glass window inside of the business in order to gain access to the firearms room.  WILLIAMS stole five .223 caliber assault-type rifles from an unlocked gun rack on the wall and exited the business with the rifles.  According to the owner of Trigger Happy Guns, each of the rifles had a 30-round magazine attached to it and there were additional 30-round magazines in close proximity to the rifles when they were stolen.

On December 21, 2016, officers with the Raleigh Police Department conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle being driven by WILLIAMS for a headlight violation.  Once WILLIAMS stopped the vehicle, he exited the vehicle and fled on foot.  After a brief chase, WILLIAMS was taken into custody.  WILLIAMS refused to provide the officers with his name and declined to make a statement.  During a search of WILLIAMS’ person, officers located an unloaded .25 caliber handgun. Additionally, the officers learned that the vehicle WILLIAMS was driving had been stolen on

December 10, 2016, and had fictitious tags attached.  A search of the vehicle revealed a backpack containing WILLIAMS’ clothing and 41 pairs of sunglasses with the tags still attached.

In summary, WILLIAMS is accountable for the theft and possession of five semiautomatic firearms that had high-capacity magazines attached, as well as the possession of one handgun, for a total of six firearms.  Additionally, WILLIAMS possessed stolen firearms; used or possessed the firearms in connection with another felony offense, namely, burglary; and engaged in the trafficking of firearms.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

In support of PSN, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina has implemented the Take Back North Carolina Initiative.  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.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Clayton Police Department, the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office, the Raleigh Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). Assistant United States Attorney Peggah Wilson handled the prosecution of this case for the government.

Firearms Offenses
Updated May 24, 2018