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Press Release

Kilogram Drug Trafficker in Robeson County Sentenced to 25 Years

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

RALEIGH, N.C. – A Maxton man was sentenced yesterday to 300 months in prison for his role in a drug trafficking conspiracy responsible for moving kilograms of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin from Mexico to Robeson County. Antonio Lavonne Locklear pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin, and possession of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin with intent to distribute.

“Our ongoing partnership with the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office has secured this 25-year sentence for a large-scale drug trafficker bringing kilogram quantities of narcotics from Mexico into Robeson County,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “Narco-traffickers should be warned. The partnership between local law enforcement and federal agencies has never been stronger or more focused on dismantling drug trafficking organizations.”

“The sentencing of Locklear will have a huge positive impact within the Prospect community of Robeson County and beyond,” said Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins. “The punishment Locklear received should be an eye opener to others that continue to wreak havoc on our county. Thank you to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and ATF for the partnership as we continue to try and make our county safer.”

According to court documents and other information presented in court, Locklear, age 38, was identified during a multi-year investigation into a group of Robeson County-based individuals who were trafficking kilograms of controlled substances from Mexico into the Brownsville, Texas, area.  Investigators learned that members of this drug trafficking organization would travel to Texas, cross the border to meet with suppliers, and then personally transport kilograms of drugs across the border and ultimately back to Robeson County, where the drugs would be sold. During the investigation Robeson County Sheriff’s Office deputies conducted a March 2020 search warrant at one of Locklear’s stash houses and collected over 400 grams of cocaine.

On October 14, 2020, the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop on a rental vehicle occupied by Locklear and two other individuals as they returned from Texas. Investigators located 2.3 kilograms of methamphetamine, 2.98 kilograms of cocaine, 967.7 grams of heroin, and more than $58,000 in U.S. currency inside the spare tire of the vehicle. 

In the spring of 2021, investigators began to receive information that members of the drug trafficking organization had resumed traveling to Texas to pick up controlled substances from the same suppliers. Through coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Customs and Border Patrol, co-defendant Jeremiah Eli Lowery was stopped at a border checkpoint near Brownsville, Texas on the way back into the United States from Mexico on April 8, 2021.  After a canine alerted to the presence of narcotics within the vehicle, officers recovered 2.8 kilograms of cocaine and 1.8 kilograms of methamphetamine from the spare tire.  Lowery has previously been sentenced to 252 months imprisonment for his role in the conspiracy.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III. The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Caroline Webb 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-59-D-2.

Updated November 16, 2023

Drug Trafficking