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Press Release

Five Sentenced For Johnston County Area Cocaine (Crack) Distribution

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

GREENVILLE - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that JOANNE SESSION SMITH, 57, of Clayton, AL MACE, 33, of Smithfield, DWAYNE MAY, 47, of Selma, BRENDA RICHARDSON, 50, of Selma, and CHERIE SNEAD, 40, of Selma, were each sentenced resulting from their earlier guilty pleas to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base (crack).  The charges involved a large scale narcotics ring responsible for selling kilos of crack from around January 1990 to December 21, 2011 in the Johnston County area.

All 5 defendants were sentenced by Senior United States District Judge Malcolm J. Howard.  SMITH was sentenced to 168 months imprisonment; MACE was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment; MAY was sentenced to 168 months imprisonment; RICHARDSON was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment; and SNEAD was sentenced to 60 months imprisonment.  All of these defendants will also be placed under supervised release for 5 years following their release from prison.

Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer E. Wells stated, “These sentences are a direct result of the diligent and thorough work of the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office.   Our partnership with local agencies is an important part of our continued effort to protect the citizens of the Eastern District of North Carolina from long-time drug traffickers such as Ms. Smith.”

According to the investigation, In July 2011, the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office, initiated an investigation related to the distribution of cocaine base (crack).  As a result of the investigation, JOANNE SESSION SMITH was identified as a drug trafficker and targeted for prosecution.  Furthermore, the other four defendants listed above were identified as participants in SMITH’s drug organization. These individuals assisted SMITH by delivering crack.  MAY also assisted the organization by providing protection.  Specifically, MAY accompanied SMITH and other co-defendants during multiple drug transactions.  After numerous controlled purchases, agents executed search warrants on SMITH’S residence which she shared with MAY, and on SNEAD’S residence and vehicle.  Agents seized crack, cocaine, currency, and marijuana during these searches.

Based on the investigation, SMITH is responsible for distributing at least 284.415 kilograms of crack and 64.7 grams of cocaine.  SMITH took crack orders from multiple buyers, converted cocaine into crack, packaged the crack for sale, and arranged the delivery of the drugs to the respective buyers.
In addition, SMITH maintained a premise for the purpose of distributing a controlled substance.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer E. Wells is handling the prosecution for the government.

Updated July 14, 2015