RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, United States District Judge James C. Dever, III sentenced TYQUEL ALSTON, 19, of Henderson, North Carolina to 54 months imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release.
ALSTON was named in an Indictment filed on May 16, 2018 charging him with receipt of a firearm while under indictment. On August 7, 2018, ALSTON pled guilty to that charge.
On May 9, 2018 ALSTON was pulled over leaving a known drug area by law enforcement officers with the Henderson Police Department. ALSTON was driving erratically and at a high rate of speed when law enforcement initiated the traffic stop. Officers could smell marijuana in his car and subsequently searched the car. Under the passenger seat officers found a Leinad Inc., Model M-11, 9mm pistol with an extended magazine. The magazine was loaded with 16 rounds. ALSTON is a prohibited possessor of firearms because he was under Indictment for Trafficking in Heroin, Larceny of a Motor Vehicle, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle and Possession of a Handgun by a Minor. Those charges were then pending in the Vance County Superior Court.
The Court granted the Government’s request for an upward departure in the defendant’s sentence because ALSTON was likewise under indictment for his participation in a drive by shooting that occurred on May 25, 2017. During that shooting an unintended victim, a pregnant 17 year old female, was shot in the leg when one of the bullets went into her home that was located across the street from the shooting location. ALSTON previously threatened his girlfriend with firearms in March and May 2018. On both occasions his girlfriend reported to police that ALSTON pointed a firearm at her and threatened to kill her during a domestic dispute. The indictment related to this shooting was pending in Vance County Superior Court at the time he possessed the weapon that was the subject of the federal charges.
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.
That effort has been implemented through 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 violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Henderson Police Department as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Charity Wilson.