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Press Release

Federal Judge Sentences Hickory, N.C. Man To 14 Years In Prison For Trafficking Methamphetamine In Catawba And Caldwell Counties

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina
The Defendant Was Found With A Firearm When He Was Arrested

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell sentenced Joseph William Patton, 34, of Hickory, N.C., to 168 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release today for trafficking methamphetamine, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Alicia Jones, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Charlotte Field Division, Sheriff Donald G. Brown II of the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Alan C. Jones, of the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, and Chief Reed Baer of the Hickory Police Department join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, Patton was operating as a major source of supply of methamphetamine in Catawba and Caldwell Counties. Between April and December 2022, law enforcement conducted a joint investigation into Patton’s drug trafficking activities, including arranging multiple controlled purchases of methamphetamine from the defendant. On December 12, 2022, law enforcement initiated a traffic stop of the vehicle Patton was a passenger in for an expired tag violation. During the traffic stop, law enforcement recovered from the vehicle a firearm, $5,448 in cash, and several baggies filled with methamphetamine, fentanyl, and Xanax pills. On the same day, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Patton’s residence, where they recovered 9 mm rifle and four magazines.

On July 20, 2023, Patton pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

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

The ATF, the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, and the Hickory Police Department conducted the investigation.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA) William Wiseman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case. Mr. Wiseman is a state prosecutor with the office of the 26th Prosecutorial District and was assigned by District Attorney Spencer Merriweather to serve as a SAUSA with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte. Mr. Wiseman is sworn in both state and federal courts. The SAUSA position is a reflection of the partnership between the District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

This case is 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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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Updated November 7, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking