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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Smithfield Man Sentenced For Being A Felon In Possession Of A Firearm

RALEIGH – The United States Attorney Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina announced that today in federal court today, Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced ROGER WATSON, III, 29, of Smithfield, North Carolina to 102 months followed by 3 years supervised release for possession of a firearm by a felon.  

WATson was named in an Indictment filed on January 5, 2016 charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and he pled guilty to that charge on April 4, 2016. 

On June 29, 2015, officers with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO), responded to a burglary on Stewart Road in Four Oaks, North Carolina.  Upon arrival, the victim informed officers that he returned home to find an unfamiliar vehicle, later determined to be registered to ROGER WATSON, III, parked in his backyard.  Moments later, the victim was confronted by

WATSON and an unidentified male, both of whom pointed firearms at the victim, directed him to move his truck, and then fled the scene.  The victim obtained WATSON’S license plate number and provided it to officers, who then responded to the defendant’s residence and observed WATSON driving towards his home.  Officers conducted a traffic stop on WATSON and took him into custody.  During the arrest, WATSON informed officers they had the wrong car because his car was broken and leaking power steering fluid. He further asserted that he had just purchased the jewelry in his car from an unknown male in Selma, North Carolina.  After a search of the defendant’s vehicle and cellular phone, as well as a review of the physical evidence and witness statements, officers linked WATSON to two residential burglaries in Four Oaks, during which forced entry was made into each residence by prying open the front or rear door.

On June 30, 2015, WATSON provided an unprotected statement admitting to the burglaries on Stewart Road, as well as two burglaries on Devils Racetrack Road.  WATSON asserted that the victim on Stewart Road owed him money, and that his accomplice (unidentified) took the victim’s gun out of his truck. Thereafter, WATSON kept the gun as collateral.  WATSON declined to identify the second suspect, or the location of any additional stolen property.

     On July 1, 2015, officers recovered photographs of a rifle and a shotgun stored in WATSON’S cellular phone, firearms which were subsequently confirmed stolen from the burglary on Lee’s Union Church Road.  On July 2, 2015, officers served a search warrant at WATSON’S home; however, no additional stolen property was located.

     On September 16, 2015, officers met with WATSON’S parents at the Sheriff’s Office storage lot, in order to return WATSON’S vehicle to them; however, the vehicle was inoperable. While attempting to locate the car battery, officers removed the air filter, at which time they discovered a loaded .22 caliber revolver, the handgun stolen from the burglary on Stewart Road.

     The investigation revealed WATSON is responsible for the possession of five firearms, all of which were stolen during two residential burglaries between June 18, 2015, and June 29, 2015.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).  Assistant United States Attorney Frank Bradsher represented the government. 

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News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s webpage at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

 

Updated July 13, 2016