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Press Release

Morganton Man Is Sentenced To 17 Years For Trafficking Fentanyl

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

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Joseph Paul Mosteller, 42, of Morganton, N.C., was sentenced today to 17 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for trafficking fentanyl, 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, Robert Schurmeier, Director of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NC SBI), Sheriff Banks Hinceman of the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Donald G. Brown II of the Catawba 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 court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, in June 2023, law enforcement initiated an investigation into Mosteller for suspected fentanyl and methamphetamine trafficking in Burke and Catawba Counties. On June 2, 2023, law enforcement were conducting surveillance of Mosteller, and observed the defendant and another individual, who was carrying a shoebox, walking toward Mosteller’s car, which was parked in the parking lot of a hotel in Hickory, N.C. Law enforcement attempted to arrest Mosteller before the defendant drove off in his vehicle. Law enforcement arrested the other individual and seized the shoebox, which contained methamphetamine. The individual told law enforcement that Mosteller had received a delivery of methamphetamine at the hotel the day prior.

According to court documents, on June 22, 2023, law enforcement believed Mosteller had received methamphetamine and was located at a residence in Burke County. Law enforcement observed Mosteller enter a vehicle that had been parked in the driveway. As Mosteller drove off in the vehicle, law enforcement attempted to conduct a traffic stop but Mosteller did not stop and instead began to drive off at a high speed. Mosteller travelled several miles before colliding into an embankment. Law enforcement arrested Mosteller and seized a paper bag located inside the vehicle, that contained multiple controlled substances, including fentanyl, packaged for distribution. Later the same day, law enforcement executed a search warrant at the Burke County residence. During the search, law enforcement seized additional distribution amounts of fentanyl and digital scales.

Chief U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger presided over Mosteller’s hearing and ordered the defendant to remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending transportation to a designated federal Bureau of Prisons facility.

U.S. Attorney King thanked the ATF, the NC SBI, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, and the Hickory Police Department for their investigation of the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Hess of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.

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Updated June 13, 2024

Drug Trafficking