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Press Release

Former Sergeant for Gates County Sheriff's Office Sentenced for Stealing Firearms and Drugs from Criminal Cases

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

RALEIGH – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan, sentenced BRANDON SCOTT HAWKS, 35, of Ayden, North Carolina, to 48 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised released. 

On February 12, 2019, HAWKS, pled guilty to two counts of possession of a stolen firearm.  An investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) revealed that between roughly 2014 and 2017, HAWKS stole firearms and drugs from traffic stops that he made while employed as a Sergeant with the Gates County Sheriff’s Office.  Additionally, HAWKS stole or mishandled various types and amounts of illegal drugs including heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, cocaine base (crack), cocaine, methamphetamine, buprenorphine, alprazolam, morphine, cathinone, and marijuana.  Investigators discovered many of these drugs in his house and patrol car. 

Mr. Higdon commented: “There is nothing more discouraging or disruptive to the proper enforcement of the law than an officer who violates the public trust by engaging in criminal conduct.  But, that is just what Brandon Scott Hawks did; and his sentence reflects the seriousness of his crime.  Fortunately, however, the vast majority of our officers understand and honor their commitment to abide by the law themselves.  And our prosecution of law enforcement officers who fail to do so serves to preserve the reputation of all the others and to strengthen the public’s confidence in our law enforcement system.”

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.  Since 2017 the United States Department of Justice has reinvigorated the PSN program and has targeted 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. 

This case is also part of 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 violence crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the State Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. Dodson prosecuted the case for the government.

Updated August 20, 2019

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Public Corruption