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Press Release

EDNC Forfeits 280 Illegal Firearms and Prosecutes 278 Illegal Firearms Offenders in 2022

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

RALEIGH, N.C. – Today, Michael Easley, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina (EDNC), announced that over the course of 2022, EDNC’s litigative efforts have resulted in the forfeiture of at least 280 illegally owned, possessed, used, or obtained firearms. Firearms that are criminally forfeited are removed from the possession of a convicted criminal defendant and relinquished to the government for disposal, including potentially the return of the firearm to a rightful owner.

“Getting illegal guns out of the hands of the most dangerous felons helps make our communities safer,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “I am proud of the strong partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement to get these guns off the street, so they are not used to commit future crimes.”

Since the start of 2022, EDNC charged approximately 278 defendants with federal firearms offenses, including possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, and straw purchasing of a firearm. These prosecutions are a result of close cooperation between prosecutors and partners at federal and local law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). EDNC also partners with the State Bureau of Investigation, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement, and local police and sheriffs across the District.

EDNC’s efforts to seize and forfeit illegal firearms in 2022 was the result of multiple investigative and prosecutorial efforts, including the Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN) and the Violent Crime Action Plan (VCAP) initiative which are both collaborative efforts with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, working with the community, to identify and address the most significant drivers of violent crime, and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), whose purpose is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

“ATF’s top priority is preventing firearms from falling into the wrong hands,” stated Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Bennie Mims. “That effort is strongly supported by our local and state law enforcement partners and our federal prosecutors. Through our collaborative efforts, we’re working hard to prevent illegal purchases, firearms trafficking, and firearms thefts. Keeping firearms out of the hands of prohibited individuals is key to building and maintaining safer communities.”

"Every day, the FBI works tirelessly with law enforcement partners across North Carolina to combat violent crime. Seizing guns from convicted felons is one step closer to making our communities safer," said Michael C. Scherck, the Acting Special Agent in Charge of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Charlotte.

“DEA and its law enforcement partners want to send a stern warning that the distribution of dangerous drugs in association with gun violence presents a clear and present danger to the community,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Atlanta Field Division. “This dangerous lifestyle has led many to face serious prison time as a consequence.”

“Finding and confiscating illegal weapons from dangerous criminals not only protects our communities, but it also protects the law enforcement community as we do our jobs,” said Ronnie Martinez, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Charlotte that covers North and South Carolina. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect our communities.”

Some of the major firearms-related cases prosecuted by EDNC in 2022 are as follows:

Jury Convicts Man for Federal Firearms Charge Following Shootout with Nash County Deputies on I-95: Ford, 35, of Florida, was convicted by a federal jury.  He is a convicted felon who engaged in a shoot-out with Nash County deputies during a traffic stop. One of the deputies assisting with the traffic stop was hit multiple times while another deputy returned fire striking Ford and incapacitating him. Ford was sentenced to 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release. USA v. Jarred Ford, (No. 5:21-CR-105-BO)

Jury Convicts Wendell Man of Armed Robberies: Robinson, 43, of Wendell, was convicted by a federal jury following a string of robberies of grocery stores in eastern and central North Carolina.  Robinson held employees at gun point after pretending to be a delivery driver so employees would let him in the backdoor.  He is subject to the Armed Career Criminal enhancement and faces a maximum sentence of Life on the gun convictions. His sentencing is scheduled for the March 2023 term of court. USA v. Lionel Robinson, (No. 5:21-CR-17-BO)

Fayetteville Man Convicted of Kidnapping, Drug and Gun Offenses – Faces at Least 20 Years in Prison: Busbee, 38, of Fayetteville was convicted by a federal jury for being a violent pimp and drug dealer in Fayetteville who physically and sexually assaulted his victims, including three adult women and a two-year child, after kidnapping them.  Busbee and others kidnapped the victims and held them for several hours after he believed the victims stole money from him.  Busbee faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison and up to life when he is sentenced on January 30, 2023. USA v. Yomere Busbee, (No. 5:20-CR-393-M)

Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Shooting Rampage on I-95 in North Carolina: Dangerfield, 35, of South Carolina was sentenced to 20 years after a shooting rampage along the I-95 corridor.  Franklin Dangerfield randomly fired at several vehicles across multiple counties while driving on I-95, striking at least one person and several vehicle.  Dangerfield then led law enforcement on a high-speed chase reaching a top speed of 110 mph before crashing. USA v. Franklin Dangerfield, (No. 5:20-CR-439-M)

LaGrange Man Sentenced to 45 Years for Carjacking Resulting in Serious Injury:  Dawson, 31, of LaGrange, violently assaulted and carjacked an 83-year-old man leaving him permanently disabled.  Dawson was sentenced to 45 years in prison on February 4, 2022. US v. Anthony Dawson, (No. 5:20-CR-180-D)

U.S. v. Christopher Baker, (No. 5:21-CR-434-M-1): Baker, 49, of Zebulon, was convicted by a federal jury of charges including methamphetamine trafficking and firearm possession charges, including possession of machine guns. Baker was the third-ranking leader of the violent Pagan Motorcycle Gang in the country. He faces a 55-year mandatory minimum when he is sentenced on February 2, 2023.

Drug Trafficker Who Operated Fayetteville Daycare Sentenced to 40 Years in Federal Prison: Everett, 36, of Cumberland County was an armed, high-volume cocaine and marijuana trafficker in Fayetteville, North Carolina and was convicted by a jury for six felony drug trafficking and firearms related charges. He trafficked drugs and kept loaded, powerful firearms at the home daycare that he ran with his wife. After he was arrested, he engaged on a campaign of falsely claiming law enforcement planted the evidence against him, and he threatened witnesses. He was sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment on August 25, 2022. U.S. v. Reshod Everett, (No. 5:20-CR-333-D-1)

California Man Responsible for Distributing Methamphetamine Receives 26 Years in Prison: Willie, 31, of California was sentenced to 312 months’ imprisonment for trafficking more than 100 kilograms of highly pure methamphetamine. Willie was a high-ranking leader of a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking organization that was associated with the Grape Street Crips gang. Willie received more than $1,000,000 in proceeds from the drug sales. U.S. v. Joseph Willie, (No. 4:21-CR-0021-FL-1)

Rocky Mount Gang Leader and Others Indicted on Drug and Fraud Charges: Foreman, 33, of Rocky Mount pled guilty to drug and fraud charges.  Foreman was the leader of an armed heroin and fentanyl trafficking conspiracy operating in Nash and Edgecombe Counties. The drug trafficking organization was associated with the United Blood Nation street gang, and the group was involved in several gang related shootings. Foreman’s sentencing is scheduled for January 23, 2023.  U.S. v. Tyrone Foreman, a/k/a “Ty Nitty” (No. 5:21-CR-289-D-1)

Violent Bloods Gang Drug Dealer and Weapons Trafficker Sentenced to 50 Years in Federal Prison: Rouse, 26, of Sampson County, was convicted at a federal trial was sentenced to 50 years’ imprisonment. Rouse was the violent leader of a large-scale drug trafficking organization who was responsible for large quantities of hundreds of kilograms of methamphetamine, as well as heroin, pills, cocaine, and cocaine base (crack). Rouse also engaged in threats and violence in furtherance of the drug trafficking organization. U.S. v. Jimmy Rouse, (No. 7:19-CR-194-D-1)

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 the case number.

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Updated January 13, 2023

Topics
Firearms Offenses