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Press Release

Wilmington Gang Member Receives More than 12 Years in Federal Prison

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

WILMINGTON — United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that in federal court, United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced JOSHUA WRIGHT, 25, of New Hanover County to 151 months’ imprisonment, followed by 2 years of supervised release.   On April 8, 2019, WRIGHT pled guilty to distribution of a quantity of heroin.

On May 2, 2018, the Wilmington Police Department (WPD) conducted a controlled purchase of heroin from WRIGHT in the parking lot of the Indochine Restaurant.  WRIGHT was wearing a GPS ankle monitor at the time of this sale because he was on post–supervision release from prison for a prior drug conviction.  According to law enforcement, WRIGHT is a validated gang member.

This case is part of a joint Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and WPD operation led by the United States Attorney’s Office’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), which focused on gang related heroin distribution in Eastern North Carolina.   OCDETF is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations.  This investigation is focused on gang related heroin distribution and the violence associated with this gang in Eastern North Carolina.

This case is also part of the Take Back North Carolina Initiative of The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.  This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Street Task Force and the Wilmington Police Department Gang Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Timothy Severo prosecuted the case on behalf of the government.

Updated August 29, 2019

Drug Trafficking