St. Pauls Man Sentenced for Felon in Possession of a Firearm Charges
NEW BERN – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today in federal court, United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced WILLIAM CHARLIE COLLINS, 32, of St. Pauls to 95 months of imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release.
COLLINS was named in a two-count Indictment filed on June 27, 2017. On September 13, 2017, COLLINS subsequently pled guilty to two-counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm.
On February 28, 2017, an officer with the St. Pauls Police Department observed COLLINS place a handgun in the trunk of a vehicle. Once he saw the officer, COLLINS immediately shut the vehicle’s trunk. The officer approached the vehicle’s owner and obtained consent to search. A search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure of a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, containing 9 rounds of ammunition in a 15-round magazine, which was located under a mat in the vehicle’s trunk. When interviewed by law enforcement, COLLINS admitted to possessing the firearm and was released. Later that day, law enforcement became aware of a breaking and entering that occurred at a St. Pauls residence, in which two firearms were stolen. Investigation determined that the stolen 9mm semiautomatic handgun was the same handgun found in COLLINS’ possession. Also stolen from the residence was a .22-250 caliber rifle. Soon after COLLINS was located by law enforcement and placed under arrest. COLLINS advised officers that the stolen rifle was stored at his girlfriend’s residence in St. Pauls. A subsequent search of the residence located the stolen rifle in the attic. COLLINS previously was convicted of a felony crime of violence.
This case was part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative which encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities.
The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Pauls Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted the criminal investigation of this case. Assistant United States Attorney S. Katherine Burnette handled the prosecution of this case for the government.