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Press Release

Wilmington Felon Receives 90 Months for Fourth Conviction of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon

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

WILMINGTON, N.C. – Michael Kwame Hines, 31, of Wilmington, NC, was sentenced today to 90 months in federal prison for two counts of felon in possession of a firearm. On August 11, 2022, Hines pled guilty to the charges.

“Through our ongoing partnership and collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement, we are able to put dangerous criminals behind bars and make our communities safer,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “This defendant has decided to illegally possess guns again and again.  Felons in Wilmington and beyond should take warning from Mr. Hines’ case – possessing a gun will get you federal time.”

“I am very proud of our officers for making this arrest and for their continued effort to reduce violent crime on our streets,” said Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams. “I would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Department of Justice, the ATF, and our other partner agencies both local, state, and federal who continue to work with us to incarcerate violent individuals. We remain committed to combatting gun crime within the Wilmington community and keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals.”

According to court documents and other information presented in court, in February of 2021, members of the Wilmington Police Department received several complaints regarding narcotics sales and people with firearms on the porch of a residence on Meares Street. Officers conducted surveillance on the residence over several days and it was apparent that drug transactions were being conducted. On February 27, 2021, officers approached the residence and made contact with Michael Hines, Quemar Wooten, and another individual on the front porch. During their investigation, officers located a stolen firearm in Wooten’s waistband and another firearm underneath a sweatshirt belonging to Hines. Officers searched Hines’ rental vehicle in the driveway and located a digital scale, approximately 41 grams of marijuana, and small Ziplock bags that are typically used to distribute narcotics. Hines was arrested on state charges and subsequently bonded out of jail.

On May 3, 2021, while out on bond for the charges from February 27, Wilmington Police Department officers were conducting surveillance on Hines and witnessed him park his rental car at a grocery store in Wilmington and leave in another vehicle. Officers executed a search warrant on the vehicle and located, a Glock 43 firearm, three magazines of ammunition, and a digital scale with marijuana residue on it. Hines was arrested the next day.

Hines has multiple prior felony convictions, including robbery with a dangerous weapon, and this sentence will represent his third and fourth conviction for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

On June 24, 2021, Wooten pled guilty to one count of possession of a firearm by a felon and on, October 12, 2022, he was sentenced to 72 months in federal prison.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Wilmington Police Department’s Gun Crime Task Force, the Mobile Field Force Unit, and the Wilmington Police Department investigated the case and Special Assistant United States Attorney William Van Trigt prosecuted the cases. Special Assistant United States Attorney William Van Trigt represents the government.  Van Trigt is a prosecutor with the New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office assigned to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute federal violent crimes and other criminal matters.  This has been made possible by a grant funded by New Hanover County.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. 

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 7:22-cr-00055-FL.

Updated February 15, 2023

Topic
Project Safe Neighborhoods