NEW BERN, N.C. – A Wilmington man was sentenced to 67 months in prison for possession of a firearm by a felon in connection with a July 31, 2019 incident.
According to court documents, Eric Lamont Burch, 45, was charged with one count of felon in possession of a firearm. Burch pled guilty to that count on May 5, 2020.
On July 31, 2019, an officer with the Wilmington Police Department initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle in which Burch was the lone, backseat passenger. As the officer approached the vehicle, he observed Burch conceal something under a backpack in the backseat. A subsequent search of the vehicle recovered drug paraphernalia and a loaded .38 caliber revolver was found in the backseat. At the time, Burch was prohibited from possessing a firearm as a result of prior felony convictions.
Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) and Wilmington Police Department investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Stephany prosecuted the case.
The investigation was part of OCDETF Operation Round Tree Hill. An Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (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, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets. This OCDETF focuses on an armed drug trafficking organization responsible for bringing heroin and crack into Eastern North Carolina.
This case is also part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina implements the PSN Program through its Take Back North Carolina Initiative. 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.
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. 7:20-cr-00027-M.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.