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Press Release

High Ranking Gang Member Receives 23 Years in Federal Prison and Armed Gang Member Receives More Than 12 Years In Federal Prison

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

WILMINGTON – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced GARRY “RATCHET” HINES, age 25, of New Hanover County to 276 months imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release.   He also sentenced SAVON HARDAWAY, 23, of New Hanover County to 151 months imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release.

On November 14, 2018, HINES pled guilty to three counts of distribution of a quantity of heroin.  On August 5, 2019, HARDAWAY pled guilty to three counts of distribution of heroin and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force, which is made up of FBI Special Agents, Wilmington Police Department investigators and New Hanover County Sheriff's Office detectives began this investigation in March 2018.  The task force uncovered an enormous amount of evidence that HINES and HARDAWAY were part of the Nine Trey sect of the United Blood Nation responsible not only for the sale of narcotics in Wilmington, but also multiple violent acts. 

Between March 29 and July 21, 2018, the task force made several controlled purchases of heroin and/or a heroin/fentanyl mixture from HINES or someone sent by HINES from several locations in Wilmington, North Carolina.

On August 21, 2018, law enforcement developed information, which led them to believe that HINES and others were gathering up guns in order to take part in a retaliatory shooting of another group.  After receiving this information, law enforcement conducted surveillance on the residence on North 5th Street.  They observed HARDAWAY and another male exit the residence and get into a car.  A traffic stop was conducted.  HARDAWAY fled and attempted to hide a stolen .380 handgun and a .45 caliber handgun.  Law enforcement recovered both handguns.   Ballistics showed the .45 caliber handgun had previously been used in prior shootings.  The other person had a stolen 9mm handgun on his person.  This person has a pending federal indictment on another firearms charge.

On August 31, 2019, a federal search warrant was served on North 5th Street in Wilmington.  HINES and Antwine “Big World” Lucas were arrested.  Law enforcement found a handgun underneath the couch where HINES was seated when the search warrant was served.  HINES was also in possession of baggies that contained a mixture of fentanyl and methamphetamine.  Previously, Lucas was sentenced in federal court for his criminal conduct in this organization and received a sentence of 188 months in federal prison.

Mr. Higdon commented:  “Our effort to Take Back North Carolina was born out of the violence and drug trafficking issues in Wilmington and across our District.  And this case is just an example of why we are committed to the defeat of criminal gang activity.  Those who terrorize our communities and who fill them with illegal drugs can expect the same treatment as these defendants.  We will take our communities back.”

"The FBI has a message for gang members involved in violent criminal activities; we will use every lawful tool available to hold you accountable for your crimes.  No matter how powerful you believe you are, you cannot win when the FBI and our law enforcement partners join forces to fight crime in North Carolina," said John Strong, FBI Special Agent in Charge. 

This case is part of an FBI lead OCDETF operation “DodgeBall”.  This is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).  This investigation focused on members of the Nine Trey sect of the United Blood Nation in Wilmington who were involved in the distribution of heroin, possession of firearm and associated violence.

This case is a classic example of the combining of an OCDETF operation with our Take Back North Carolina Initiative.  Wilmington Police Task Force Officers were able to identify members and associates of this violent drug gang and then partner with the FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office to develop a strategy to dismantle this organization.  After being armed with this local intelligence, law enforcement was able to utilize the substantial resources and tools of the federal government to help break the back of this group which had been terrorizing Wilmington.  The success of this case would not have been possible without these partnerships.

The Take Back North Carolina Initiative of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina emphasizes a 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 Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Street Task Force, the Wilmington Police Department and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation of this case.  Assistant United States Attorney Timothy Severo prosecuted the case on behalf of the government.

Updated December 20, 2019