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Press Release

Maxton Woman Sentenced for Gun Charge

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

RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced CRYSTAL LYNN CLARK, 41, of Maxton, North Carolina to 36 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years’ of supervised release.

CLARK was named in an Indictment filed on July 10, 2019, charging her with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  On November 15, 2019, CLARK pled guilty to that charge. 

According to the investigation, on December 8, 2018, CLARK pawned a 9mm rifle at Universal Pawn in Maxton, North Carolina. On December 12, 2018, CLARK returned to the pawnshop and attempted to retrieve the firearm. However, she was unable to retrieve the firearm because of her status as a convicted felon. The National Instant Background Check Service (NICS) denial triggered an Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigation which led to her arrest and prosecution.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws.  Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.  For more information about Project Guardian, please see:  

This case is also 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.  The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina implements the PSN Program through its Take Back North Carolina Initiative.  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 year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) conducted investigation of this case.  Assistant United States Attorney Chad Rhoades handled the prosecution of this case for the government.

Updated February 18, 2020

Project Safe Neighborhoods