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Press Release

Leader And Two Associates Of Drug Trafficking Ring Sentenced To Prison

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

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The leader of a drug trafficking ring and two of his associates were sentenced to prison today by U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr., announced R. Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Anthony Jarbar Pettus, 35, of Gastonia, was sentenced to 168 months in prison and five years of supervised release; James Michael Hardin, 54, of Gastonia, was sentenced to 120 months in prison and five years of supervised release; and Albert Hankerson, 65, of Gastonia, N.C. was sentenced to 72 months in prison and three years of supervised release. 

According to court documents and today’s sentencing hearings, from 2007 to 2017, the defendants operated as drug conspiracy responsible for trafficking between 840 and 2,800 grams of crack cocaine in and around Gaston County.  Pettus was the leader of the drug ring, and Hardin, and Hankerson were couriers.  According to court records, over the course of the conspiracy law enforcement officials seized narcotics, drug paraphernalia, at least 11 firearms and more than $25,000 in cash.              

The defendants were charged as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation.  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 drug trafficking organizations and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.

In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Murray thanks the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Charlotte Division; ICE/Homeland Security Investigations; and the Gastonia Police Department for their investigation of the case

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte was in charge of the prosecution.


Updated March 22, 2018

Drug Trafficking