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Justice News

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

Friday, August 10, 2018

Wilmington Gang Member Sentenced to More Than 8 Years for Heroin Distribution and Weapon Violations

RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that, Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced DIQUELLE SWEET, 22, of Wilmington to 105 months of imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release. 

On May 1, 2018, SWEET entered a plea of guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute a Quantity of Heroin, five counts of Distribution of a Quantity of Heroin, and to Possession of a Firearm by a Felon.

Between April 2015 and October 2017, DIQUELLE SWEET, Deandre Sweet, Kyeric Sweet and others were responsible for the distribution of significant amounts of heroin in the Wilmington, NC area.  Law enforcement responded by targeting SWEET, a validated gang member, and his co-conspirators for investigation and prosecution. 

From June of 2017 through August of 2017, officers of the Wilmington Police Department Gang Unit made five undercover purchases of heroin from SWEET.   

SWEET was also the subject of other criminal investigations.  On June 27, 2017, witnesses reported that SWEET was involved in a shootout with another individual who SWEET shot in the chest.  

On October 10, 2017, Bladen County Sheriff’s deputies and Elizabethtown police officers conducting a license checkpoint encountered a car occupied by SWEET.  The driver failed to stop the car at the checkpoint.  Once stopped by law enforcement the car was searched and two loaded firearms were found.  SWEET had previously been convicted of a felony and was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

On October 11, 2017, New Hanover County Detectives observed a hand-to-hand exchange of drugs between SWEET and another individual.  When detectives attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle driven by SWEET, SWEET drove over a curb, onto the  sidewalk and crashed into another vehicle before coming to a stop.  SWEET then fled on foot before being apprehended in possession of $2,945 in U.S. currency.  The driver of the second vehicle was injured and transported to Cape Fear Memorial Hospital for treatment.

This case is part of the Take Back North Carolina Initiative, which was newly implemented by 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.

This investigation was conducted by the Wilmington Police Department Gang Unit and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Street’s Task Force, New Hanover and Bladen County Sheriffs’ Offices and the Elizabethtown Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Timothy M. Severo handled the prosecution of this case for the government.  

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Updated August 10, 2018