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Man who brought children to drug deal sentenced to 78 months in federal prison

A New Hanover County man was sentenced March 2 to 78 months imprisonment for distribution of a quantity of heroin and fentanyl; possession with intent to distribute a quantity of heroin; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, according to a press release from the Department of Justice, Eastern District of North Carolina.

According to court documents and other evidence, on January 22, 2020, the Wilmington Police Department conducted a controlled purchase of heroin from Quadarrius “Reckless” Cotten, 23, in the bathroom of a Burger King restaurant in Wilmington. At time the of the sale, Cotten was accompanied by two young children, stated the press release. A photograph introduced at the sentencing hearing showed one of the children wearing a Burger King crown standing next to Cotten as he delivered the drugs.

“On January 28, 2020, the Wilmington Police Department conducted a second controlled purchase of fentanyl and a firearm from Cotten. Law enforcement later determined that the firearm which Cotten possessed during the offense was stolen,” stated the release.

“On May 16, 2020, the Wilmington Police Department was conducting surveillance in the area of 6th and Campbell Streets due to concerns over retaliatory gang violence,” the release continued. “Cotten, a validated gang member, was observed engaging in an argument with an individual who was armed with an AK-47 rifle. Officers intervened and during a search of Cotten found a small amount of heroin and nearly $400 in cash in his possession.”

Cotten had prior convictions for conspiracy to commit common law robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

G. Norman Acker III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II. The Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Street Task Force and the Wilmington Police Department investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Severo prosecuted.

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