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Justice News

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

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Smithfield Pair Convicted Of Federal Gun Charges

RALEIGH - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court, Lionel Lamont COX, 40, of Smithfield, North Carolina, was convicted of his role in a gun trafficking scheme.

On August 29, 2012, a Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment that charged COX and a co-defendant, Neville Samuel WARD Jr., 26, of Smithfield, North Carolina, with two counts of aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon on or about May 14, 2012, and June 27, 2012. On February 14, 2013, after a two-day trial, a jury found COX guilty of both counts.  WARD had previously pleaded guilty to both counts on January 24, 2013.  Based on these convictions, COX and WARD each face up to 20 years in prison.

The evidence in the case demonstrated that on or about May 14, 2012, and June 27, 2012, COX and WARD were working at the Express Lube located in Smithfield, North Carolina.  While working there, the evidence revealed that COX and WARD sold firearms on the premises of the Express Lube to another individual.  Prior to these events, the evidence demonstrated that both COX and WARD had been convicted of felonies by the State of North Carolina.  During the investigation, a third controlled buy of a firearm was conducted on May 21, 2012, involving COX and a fourth individual at the same Express Lube.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Assistant United States Attorney Rudy E. Renfer represented the government.  

Updated July 14, 2015