Skip to main content
Press Release

Armed Drug Trafficker With Prior Federal Conviction Is Sentenced To 25 Years In Prison

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

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Lance Richardson Pagan, 52, of Gastonia, N.C., was sentenced to 25 years in prison today, followed by six years of supervised release for drug and gun offenses, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Robert M. DeWitt, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, and Chief Trent Conrad of the Gastonia Police Department (GPD) join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court documents and evidence presented at trial, law enforcement learned that Pagan was trafficking narcotics in Gaston County. At the time, Pagan was on supervised release for a previous federal drug conviction for which he was sentenced to seven years in prison. On January 12, 2022, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Pagan’s residence and seized a trafficking amount of cocaine and cocaine base, and three firearms. Due to Pagan’s prior convictions, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition.

A federal jury convicted Pagan of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and cocaine and possession of firearm by convicted felon. Pagan is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons.

U.S. Attorney King credited today’s sentence to investigations led by the Western District’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), which have resulted in the conviction of more than 70 individuals, and the seizure of over 567 kilograms of cocaine, more than six kilograms of cocaine base, more than 17 kilograms of methamphetamine, more than four kilograms of heroin, over 30 kilograms of fentanyl, 127 firearms, and more $437,000 in cash and other property.

OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles criminal organizations using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King thanked the FBI and GPD.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.


Updated March 20, 2023

Drug Trafficking