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Justice News

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Wilmington Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Heroin Distribution

RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced JOHN MICKEY HARRIS, JR., 30, of Wilmington, North Carolina to 120 months of imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release.   

On March 19, 2018, HARRIS entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of heroin, and felon in possession of a firearm.

A joint investigation between the Wilmington Police Department Gang Unit and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Safe Streets Unit revealed that between October 2016 and January 2017, HARRIS and others were responsible for the distribution of significant amounts of heroin in the Wilmington, NC area. 

From October 2016 through January of 2017, at the direction of law enforcement, several undercover purchases of heroin were made from HARRIS

On April 11, 2017, law enforcement stopped a car in which HARRIS was a passenger and found a small quantity of heroin.  Law enforcement then searched a residence associated with HARRIS in Wilmington, where they found 16 grams of heroin and ammunition.  During the course of this investigation, the FBI discovered that following his arrest on these charges, HARRIS directed someone to dispose of a 9mm handgun in the retention pond at the Campus Edge Apartments near the campus of The University of North Carolina Wilmington.  

The New Hanover County Fire and Rescue dive team subsequently located the handgun in the retention pond with the aid of a large magnet.  Ballistic testing confirmed that the gun had been used in other crimes.  At the time he possessed this firearm, HARRIS had a prior federal conviction for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

This case is part of the Take Back North Carolina Initiative 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, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorney Timothy M. Severo handled the prosecution of this case for the government.  

Updated November 20, 2018