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Press Release

Career Offender Is Sentenced To 20 Years On Drug Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina
The defendant trafficked narcotics while on probation for state drug charges

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell sentenced Larry Elwood Steptoe, 41, of Hickory, N.C., to 20 years in prison and five years of supervised release for distributing narcotics, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Bennie Mims, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Charlotte Field Division, and Chief Thurman Whisnant of the Hickory Police Department join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.

In December 2020, law enforcement learned that Steptoe was trafficking narcotics in Catawba and Alexander Counties. Over the course of a five-month investigation, law enforcement determined that Steptoe was selling substantial amounts of methamphetamine and crack cocaine and conducted the majority of the drug sales from his auto detailing business in Taylorsville, N.C. On May 13, 2021, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Steptoe’s home in Catawba County, seizing $2,700 in U.S. currency, approximately 20 grams of crack cocaine, and approximately 284 grams of methamphetamine. Court records show that Steptoe engaged in drug trafficking while he was on probation for state drug charges. As a result of Steptoe’s previous federal drug conviction and state felony drug conviction, the Court sentenced Steptoe as a career offender.

Steptoe is in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King commended the ATF and the Hickory Police Department for their investigation of the case, and thanked the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, and the Taylorsville Police Department for their invaluable assistance.

Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Hess of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.

Updated July 13, 2022

Drug Trafficking