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Press Release

Wilmington Man Who Was a High Ranking Gang Member Sentenced for Drug Distribution

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

RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today in federal court, Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever, III sentenced JIMMY LEVON UNDERWOOD, 31, of Wilmington to 72 months of imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release. 

On August 8, 2017, UNDERWOOD was named in a nine-count Indictment.  On December 11, 2017, UNDERWOOD pled guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute 100 grams or more of Heroin.

In March 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Wilmington Police Department, began investigating the narcotics activity of UNDERWOOD.  From April to November 2016, law enforcement made seven purchases of heroin from UNDERWOOD.  Several firearms were present during one of the purchases.  Based upon the investigation, UNDERWOOD and others made trips to New Jersey to purchase heroin for distribution in Eastern North Carolina.

On November 28, 2016, investigators conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by UNDERWOOD. He initially pulled away from investigators and drove a short distance before pulling over again. During the pursuit, someone in the vehicle threw out a package which contained 148.26 grams of heroin which was recovered by law enforcement.  The vehicle eventually stopped and the search of the vehicle resulted in 25 boxes of new and unused heroin packaging materials and three boxes of a cutting agent.

Following the traffic stop, law enforcement obtained search warrants for several locations associated with the organization in which weapons and items used for the distribution of heroin were found.  Based on the investigation, UNDERWOOD was a high ranking gang member.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Street Task Force and the Wilmington Police Department conducted the criminal investigation of this case.  Assistant United States Attorneys Dennis M. Duffy and Timothy Severo handled the prosecution of this case for the government.

Updated March 21, 2018