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Press Release

High-Ranking Blood Gang Member Sentenced to More Than 17 Years for Armed Drug Trafficking

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

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. – Darrick Charles, 31, of Wilmington, was sentenced to 210 months in prison for drug trafficking and gun charges. According to law enforcement, Charles was a high-ranking member of the United Blood Nation in Wilmington. Charles was ultimately apprehended by U.S. Marshals in Leland following a high-speed chase.

“Putting a stop to this high-ranking gang member’s criminal conduct is a victory for the citizens of Eastern North Carolina,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley.  “Charles recklessly led police a high-speed chase through a residential neighborhood, then fled with a stolen gun.  Today’s sentence is a warning.  You gamble with your life and your future when you deal in gangs, guns, and drugs.” 

According to court documents, evidence presented in court, and other documents, between February 12, 2020, and June 2, 2020, law enforcement made five controlled purchases of heroin from Charles in Wilmington.  During a sale on February 19, 2020, Charles possessed a 9mm handgun while he sold a confidential informant a quantity of heroin. On February 24, 2020, law enforcement also purchased a handgun from Charles, who said during the deal that the buyer did not have to worry about the gun being stolen because his girlfriend is able to purchase them legally.  Charles is prohibited from possessing firearms because of a prior conviction for manufacturing, selling, distributing, or possessing a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school and possession with intent to distribute heroin. 

On June 4, 2020, law enforcement served a search warrant at Charles’ residence in Brunswick County.  Law enforcement found three firearms and materials used for the distribution of heroin. An arrest warrant was ordered by the court for his failure to comply with his conditions of release for the previous charges.

On April 4, 2021, U.S. Marshals located Charles operating a vehicle in Leland, NC and attempted to stop him.  Charles refused to stop and fled, driving in excess of 95 miles per hour in a residential area until he stopped near a wooded area and fled on foot.  Charles was apprehended by the Marshals following a foot chase.  While fleeing, Charles threw down a quantity of heroin and a loaded, stolen handgun. During the course of the investigation, law enforcement uncovered that Charles had made trips to 

New Jersey and Greensboro to pick up heroin to be distributed in Eastern North Carolina.    

On July 6, 2022, Charles pled guilty to five counts of distribution of a quantity of heroin, possession with intent to distribute a quantity of heroin, two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and two counts of possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug-trafficking crime.

This is part of “Operation Golfer,” which is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launders, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Wilmington Police Department, and the New Hanover and Brunswick County Sheriffs’ Offices  investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy Severo and Gabe Diaz  prosecuted the case.

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 Case No. 7:21-cr-00120-BO-1.


Updated February 23, 2023

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses