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Justice News

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

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Greenville Felon Sentenced In Operation “No Quarter”

NEW BERN - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court today United States District Judge W. Earl Britt sentenced Ernest Joshon Wright, 27, of Greenville, North Carolina, to 78 months of imprisonment and      3 years of supervised release.  WRIGHT previously pled guilty to possession of firearm by a felon and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute quantities of cocaine, oxycodone, methadone, and marijuana.   

The Greenville Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives used a confidential informant to make the following controlled purchases of narcotics from WRIGHT in 2012:  cocaine on August 29 and September 27; marijuana on October 9 and October 23; and oxycodone on November 1.  During the investigation WRIGHT began negotiating a purchase of four firearms, including a fully automatic assault rifle, from the confidential informant. On November 5, 2012, the confidential informant was provided with four “prop” firearms with firing pins removed.  After WRIGHT took possession of the four firearms, agents executed search warrants and recovered two additional firearms and methadone pills.  WRIGHT was prohibited from possessing the firearms due to his prior felony convictions of discharging a weapon into occupied property, attempted common law robbery and possession of firearm by a felon.

The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation "No Quarter" was designed to attack the infrastructure of the Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO), including those of the Los Zetas, La Familia, Gulf and Sinaloa drug cartels, operating not only in the Eastern District of North Carolina, but throughout North Carolina, the United States and Mexico.  These DTO's are responsible for the importation of large quantities of cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine into the United States, as well as the related remittance of illegal drug proceeds back into Mexico. 

The investigation spanned ten years and five North Carolina counties. As part of the investigation, over 100 individuals have been charged by indictment or criminal information in the Eastern District of North Carolina and state courts. Law enforcement officials seized drugs with a street value $4.6 million, including  127 kilograms of cocaine, 53 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, 160 pounds of marijuana, and 32 grams of heroin.  Additionally, $2.2 million in U.S. Currency, 35 firearms and 35 real properties valued at $1.5 million were seized by law enforcement authorities.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) - Raleigh and Greensboro Resident Offices, the New York Field Division and numerous other DEA offices in the United States and Mexico;  the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) - Raleigh and Wilmington offices; the United States Marshals Service; the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) - Raleigh and Tampa, Florida offices; the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation; the North Carolina National Guard; the North Carolina State Highway Patrol; the Greenville Police Department; the Pitt County Sheriff's Office; the Pamlico County Sheriff's Office; the Lenoir County Sheriff's Office; the Craven County Sheriff's Office; the Carteret County Sheriff's Office; the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office; the New Bern Police Department, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office; the Person County Sheriff's Office; the Farmville Police Department; the Goldsboro Police Department; the Rocky Mount Police Department; the Burlington Police Department, the Alamance County Sheriff's Office, and the Wilson Police Department.

The federal prosecutions were handled by Special Assistant United States Attorneys Glenn Perry and Augustus Willis, IV.  Mr. Perry is a prosecutor with the Pitt County District Attorney’s Office.  Mr. Willis is a prosecutor with the Carteret, Craven and Pamlico Counties District Attorney’s Office.  District Attorneys Kimberly Robb and Scott Thomas have assigned Mr. Perry and Mr. Willis to the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force criminal matters. Their assignments to the United States Attorney’s Office have been made possible by grants funded by the Governor’s Crime Commission.

Updated July 14, 2015