Skip to main content
Press Release

Repeat Gastonia Drug Trafficker Is Sentenced To 15 Years For Drug Distribution

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina
The Defendant Was on Federal Supervised Release for Prior Drug Conviction

CHARLOTTE, N.C. –Kenter O’Neal Ruff, 45, of Gastonia, N.C., was sentenced to 180 months in prison followed by six years of supervised release for drug distribution, 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 Conard of the Gastonia Police Department join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court documents, evidence presented at Ruff’s trial, and witness testimony, over the course of an investigation into drug trafficking in Gaston County law enforcement identified Ruff as a local drug distributor. Trial evidence established that, on multiple occasions between October 2020 and April 2021, Ruff sold cocaine base to an individual cooperating with law enforcement. At the time, Ruff was on supervised release stemming from a prior federal drug conviction and had additional state convictions related to drug trafficking and drug possession.

On January 5, 2023, a federal jury convicted Ruff of four counts of distribution of cocaine base. Ruff will remain in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation. 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

U.S. Attorney King thanked the FBI and the Gastonia Police Department for their investigation of the case.

Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas Kent and Steven R. Kaufman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte and Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA) William Wiseman 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 office of the 26th Prosecutorial District and the United States Attorney’s Office. 




Updated June 25, 2024

Drug Trafficking