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Press Release

Raleigh Gang Member Sentenced for Drug and Firearm Offenses

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

RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today, JAMES EDWARD WHITAKER, 33, of Raleigh, North Carolina, was sentenced by Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever III to 84 months imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release.

WHITAKER was named in a two-count Criminal Information filed on May 29, 2018 and on that same date pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine base (crack) and marijuana and to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. 

On July 19, 2017, officers with the Raleigh Police Department observed WHITAKER exit a vehicle then trespass on property he’d been told to stay away from previously.  Officers in that area noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car that WHITAKER had just left.  They approached WHITAKER and he began to walk away.  Officers were able to place one handcuff on WHITAKER, but he ultimately resisted arrest, removed the handcuff and fled on foot.  Subsequent investigation of the scene revealed a handgun in the car that WHITAKER exited, along with cocaine base (crack), US currency, and marijuana.  WHITAKER was later located and arrested. 

This case is 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.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

This case is part of the United States Attorney’s Office’s 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 investigation of this case was conducted by the Raleigh Police Department, CCBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Assistant United States Attorney S. Katherine Burnette handled the prosecution of this case for the government. 

Updated September 5, 2018

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses