Wilmington Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Federal Prison for Drug Distribution
RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that in federal court, Senior United States District Judge W. Earl Britt sentenced ANTONIO PIERRE SHUFFORD, 38 from Wilmington, North Carolina, to 144 months in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release.
SHUFFORD was charged in a nine-count indictment filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina on January 31, 2018. On April 30, 2018, SHUFFORD pled guilty to count nine of the Indictment which charged him with possession with intent to distribute twenty-eight grams or more of cocaine base (crack) and a quantity of oxycodone.
The investigation revealed that on February 26, 2015, a search of SHUFFORD and six residences associated with SHUFFORD resulted in the seizure of $1,505 in U.S. Currency, plastic baggies, 14.24 grams of cocaine, and 8.09 grams of crack cocaine. As the investigation into SHUFFORD continuined, another residence and vehicle used by SHUFFORD were searched on March 8, 2017, and these searches resulted in the seizure of 152.53 grams of crack cocaine, 1,618.05 grams of liquid oxycodone, and 330 grams of oxycodone mixed with other liquids.
From the investigation, law enforcement determined that between at least May 1, 2009, through March 8, 2017, SHUFFORD was responsible for the distribution of over 1,900 grams of cocaine base (crack). Moreover, at the sentencing hearing, the court determined that the defendant was a “career offender” in that he had two previous convictions for drug trafficking offenses.
This case was prosecuted federally as part of the United States Department of Justice’s Opioid Initiative and the Take Back North Carolina Initiative of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Implemented in March 2018, the Take Back North Carolina Initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with local, state and federal 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 initiative targets those organizations and individuals who are responsible for increasing violent crime rates and drug trafficking – quickly routing the cases to federal court when prosecution in that venue would deliver the most significant impact.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Wilmington FBI Coastal Carolina Criminal Enterprise Task Force consisting of the FBI, New Hanover County Sheriff's Office, Brunswick County Sheriff's Office, Wilmington Police Department, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Laura Howard prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.