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Press Release

Wilmington Gang Member Armed with “Ghost Gun” Sentenced to More Than 11 Years for Trafficking Meth

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

NEW BERN, N.C. – Shamar Keaton, also known as “Sleeze” and “Sleeze Ru Gambino,” 32, of Wilmington, was sentenced to 135 months in prison for drug trafficking. According to law enforcement, Keaton was a member of the United Blood Nation in Wilmington.

According to court documents, evidence presented in court, and other documents, on December 15, 2021, an individual working at the direction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) purchased more than 20 grams of methamphetamine from Keaton.  Keaton was wearing an ankle monitor that he had been ordered to wear by the North Carolina State Court system.  Keaton had a prior state conviction for possession of a stolen firearm.

On March 5, 2022, the same individual made another controlled purchase, this time for approximately two ounces of pure methamphetamine.  During the deal, Keaton said that he had a 9mm “ghost gun” (a term for a privately manufactured firearm without serial numbers or other identifying marks that cannot be traced by law enforcement).  Keaton said that he had a source for ghost guns.  Keaton explained that it would cost $600 to get all the parts and then his source charges $200 to assemble the gun.  Keaton was arrested by ATF on March 16, 2022.

This is part of “Operation Golfer,” which is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launders, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

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, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Wilmington Police Department, and the Duplin, New Hanover and Brunswick County Sheriffs’ Offices  investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy Severo and Gabe Diaz  prosecuted the case.

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-00049-FL-001.

Updated March 17, 2023

Drug Trafficking