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Press Release

Roanoke Rapids Man Sentenced For Dog Fighting, Marijuana Grow & Firearms Charges

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

RALEIGH – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina announced that in federal court yesterday, United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced three members of a Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina family relating to dog fighting, drug, and firearm conviction.

ELTON GARY, 47, was sentenced to 72 months imprisonment followed by 10 years of supervised released for the exhibit and sponsor of an animal for the purpose and participation in a fighting venture and aiding and abetting; attending an animal fighting venture and aiding and abetting in the same; possession of an animal for the purpose of participation in a fighting venture and aiding and abetting in the same; possession of a firearm and ammunition by a felon; possession with intent to distribute more than 50 but less than 100 marijuana plants and aiding and abetting; and maintaining drug involved premises and aiding and abetting.  His wife, ERICA POWELL GARY, 44, was sentenced to four months of imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release for felony dog fighting and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon charges. ZHAQWAUN JEVONTAE GARY, 22, was sentenced to six months imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release, for  a felony dog fighting charge. 

On April 7, 2013, the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint that a dog fight was taking place at the Gary’s residence in Halifax County.  When deputies arrived at the home, blood samples were obtained from an area that appeared to have had recent dog fighting and multiple animals were seized.  In the shed, deputies located a steel bucket with bloody water, and what appeared to be a ring or pit for dog fighting.  A carpet with blood was found and there were blood splatters on the walls.  The American Pit Bull Terriers were located in a wooden fenced in area and there was blood at the bottom of the fence.

Several pit bulls were chained up within the fence.  Deputies located approximately 17 dogs (pit bulls).  Each had wounds and scars consistent with dog fighting.  While looking for evidence of dog fighting, deputies located marijuana plants growing in a shed on the property.  Deputies obtained a search warrant based on the discovery.  There were approximately 68 plants, a grow light, seeds, timers, heaters, etc. in support of the growing operation.  A search warrant was also executed at the Gary’s home.  Two firearms, one loaded, were located in the closet of the bedroom shared by ERICA and ELTON GARY. 

The criminal investigation of this case was conducted by Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, Halifax County Animal Control, the North Carolina State Crime Laboratory, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives (ATF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Office of Inspector General.  Assistant United States Attorney S. Katherine Burnette is handling the case on behalf of the government.

Updated February 27, 2024

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