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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 29, 2018

Three Greenville Men Sentenced on Firearms Charges After Each Found With a Handgun in the Same Car

RALEIGH — The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today, United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced Willie Lee Smallwood, Jr., 29, of Greenville to 30 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release; Keyonta Maurice Powell, 29, of Greenville to 60 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release; and Kevin Rashawn Ebron, 31, of Greenville, to 42 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release.

The defendants were named in a four-count Indictment on April 3, 2018.  On June 6, 2018, EBRON pled guilty to Felon in Possession of a Firearm.  POWELL and SMALLWOOD pled guilty to separate counts of the same offense on June 26, 2018, and July 31, 2018, respectively. 

In late October of 2016, members of the Greenville Police Department’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Team set out to locate and arrest KEYONTA MAURICE POWELL on outstanding state warrants.  In an effort to locate POWELL, investigators obtained an order allowing access to real-time GPS data from POWELL’s phone.

During the early morning hours of November 1, 2016, investigators located POWELL in a car at a McDonalds drive-thru in Greenville.  SMALLWOOD was driving the car, in which POWELL, EBRON, and a third man were passengers.  Law enforcement vehicles boxed in the car in the drive-thru lane, and officers removed each of the men from the vehicle.  After POWELL acknowledged to officers that he possessed a firearm, they recovered an Amadeo Rossi .38 caliber revolver from his pants pocket.  On the rear floorboard in front of where EBRON had been sitting, officers found a Ruger P90 .45 caliber pistol.  Lastly, a search of the area under Smallwood’s driver’s seat revealed a loaded Taurus 9mm handgun.

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.  

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Greenville Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).  Assistant United States Attorney Jake D. Pugh handled the prosecution of this case for the government. 

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated November 29, 2018