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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of North Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 21, 2019

One of the Largest Fentanyl Distributors in Wilmington Gets 17 Years in Federal Prison

RA­­LEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced SHAWQI GRAY, 37, of Wilmington to 204 months imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised release.

On November 6, 2018, GRAY plead guilty to possession with the intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and a quantity of fentanyl and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crime.

On November 30, 2017, the New Hanovery County Sheriff’s Office conducted a search of GRAY’s residence and a storage container on the property.  Law enforcement found the following items: more than 150 grams of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl, more than 150 grams of a mixture of heroin and ketamine, 5 handguns (two of which were stolen) and more than $47,000 in cash.  The investigation uncovered that GRAY had been involved in the distribution of more than a kilogram and half of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl from July until November 2017.

On August 4, 2016, the Easton, Pennsylvania Police searched GRAY’S residence.  Gray was not present.  Law enforcement found 20 grams of heroin, 68 grams of crack cocaine and more than $19,000 in cash. 

This case is part of an FBI lead OCDETF operation “Tooth Fairy”.  This is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).  This investigation is focused on the distribution of heroin from New Jersey to New Hanover, Brunswick, Bladen, Duplin, and Sampson Counties and associated gang activities.

This case is also part of 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 Federal Bureau of Investigation Coastal Carolina Criminal Enterprise Task Force, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and the Easton, Pennsylvania Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Timothy Severo prosecuted the case on behalf of the government.

Topic(s): 
Opioids
Updated February 21, 2019