Dunn Man Sentenced To Life For Narcotics Distribution
WILMINGTON – United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced today that JAMES RODREQUIAS PRESSLEY, 43, of Dunn, North Carolina, was sentenced to life imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release. PRESSLEY was convicted by a federal jury on July 30, 2014 on 13 drug related and money laundering counts including Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute 280 grams or more of Cocaine Base (Crack) and 5 kilograms or more of Cocaine and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering from December 2008 to April 3, 2013. The jury returned its verdict following a trial before Senior United States District Judge James C. Fox.
The defendant was the target of an investigation into distributors of narcotics in the area of Dunn. From at least 1999 to 2012, PRESSLEY was an upper-level drug trafficker who was responsible for possessing and distributing approximately just over 2 kilograms of crack cocaine and 191.5 kilograms of cocaine. PRESSLEY received these narcotics from several suppliers. PRESSLEY used numerous others to distribute his drugs throughout Eastern North Carolina and also converted some of his cocaine into crack cocaine. Between December 12, 2011, and February 1, 2012, investigative agents used a confidential informant (CI) to conduct several controlled purchases of crack cocaine from PRESSLEY. Several of the controlled buys occurred at PRESSLEY’S residence in Dunn.
The IRS determined that PRESSLEY had no verifiable employment history during the time of the offense; however, between June 12, 2009, and August 17, 2010, PRESSLEY purchased several properties on Railroad Avenue in Dunn for a total of $10,500. PRESSLEY subsequently made additions and/or renovations to the properties valued at $12,000. PRESSLEY used these properties to sell and store cocaine and crack cocaine, and store proceeds from his drug-trafficking activities.
During the drug conspiracy, PRESSLEY ostensibly operated a legitimate music business, Blackbird Entertainment (BE), as well as a landscaping business in Dunn. PRESSLEY used drug proceeds to pay for concerts and production costs in an attempt to promote BE. He also used $7,860.35 in drug proceeds to purchase equipment for his landscaping business. In order to conceal the source of illegal proceeds, between January 5, 2009, and November 22, 2011, PRESSLEY made deposits totaling $29,805 to the bank account of his girlfriend, deposits totaling $20,060, to his landscaping account, and deposits totaling $15,000 to his account at Bank of America. Investigators also determined that between September 5, 2009, and February 28, 2011, PRESSLEY used $26,912 in drug proceeds to purchase at least three vehicles.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the Dunn Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer E. Wells.