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Press Release

Wilmington Gang Member Receives More than 8 Years in Prison for Possessing Multiple Ghost Guns with High-Capacity Magazines

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

WILMINGTON, N.C. – A Wilmington man, and validated member of the United Blood Nation street gang, was sentenced today to 100 months in federal prison for possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. On June 5, 2023, Demirion Keziah Barnett, age 19, pled guilty to the charge.

According to court documents and other information presented in court, on January 28, 2023, at approximately 11:16 p.m., investigators with the Wilmington Police Department were dispatched to a residence on Metting Street following a ShotSpotter alert and notification that an individual in the residence sustained a gunshot wound to the hand.

When officers arrived on scene they saw the defendant, Demirion Barnett, walking away from a vehicle parked in the parking lot before making contact with the occupants of the home involved in the shooting. Officers saw the numerous bullet holes in the walls and windows of the residence, indicative of someone firing into the home. During the investigation officers located approximately 437 grams of marijuana and a 9mm handgun in a backpack inside the residence. Officers also looked under the vehicle the defendant was observed walking away from and found a .223/556 AR style “ghost” gun rifle with a 60-round drum magazine and a stolen 9mm handgun with a 24-round magazine and two obliterated serial numbers wrapped inside a blanket.

Barnett was detained and interviewed by law enforcement. He told investigators he was inside the home when the shooting occurred, and he put the guns in the blanket under a vehicle to hide them from law enforcement.    

The next day, investigators responded to a call that another firearm was located in the parking lot next to the location where they found the firearms the previous day and found a 9mm semi-automatic “ghost” gun with a 31-round magazine.

At the time of the offense, the defendant was a convicted felon and was on state probation for felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver a Schedule VI Controlled Substance. Records from the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections reflect that the defendant is a validated member of the United Blood Nation street gang.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II.   The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Wilmington Police Department’s Gun Crime Task Force, and the Wilmington Police Department and New Hanover County Sheriff Office Mobile Field Force Unit investigated the case and Special Assistant United States Attorney William Van Trigt prosecuted the case. 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.

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. 7:23-cr-00026M-001.


Updated November 8, 2023

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime