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North Carolina man sentenced to prison for role in armed robbery of convenience store

A Pender County man was sentenced May 20 to 91 months in prison and five years of supervised release for robbery affecting interstate commerce 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, Dontee Deshawn Forte, 21, and a co-defendant went to the Scotchman gas station and convenience store in Burgaw on June 4, 2019 and robbed the store.

“Forte’s co-defendant entered the store and held the clerk at gunpoint while he demanded money. The clerk opened the cash register and the co-defendant took the money out of the register,” stated the release. “Forte drove the co-defendant to the store to effectuate the robbery and was going to be the get-away driver. However, the co-defendant ran the opposite direction from where the car was parked and Forte drove away from the scene without his co-conspirator.”

Store clerks were able to describe the car that fled the area, enabling officers with the Burgaw Police Department to locate the car very shortly after the robbery.

Forte was with the car and was detained for questioning, while his co-defendant was found a short time after the robbery walking within three blocks of the Scotchman. “The co-defendant was wearing clothing consistent with the robber’s description. Officers found money from the store on his person as well as a firearm. The firearm belonged to Forte’s sister,” stated the release. “Both men were transported to the Burgaw Police Department. Forte was found in possession of Xanax pills that were hidden on his person and provided a statement to law enforcement. After first denying any knowledge of the robbery, he ultimately told law enforcement that he dropped off his co-defendant, who was armed with a weapon, at the Scotchman and went back home.”

Forte had prior convictions for discharging a weapon into an occupied vehicle. According to law enforcement, Forte was a validated gang member.

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 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Burgaw Police Department investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Charity Wilson prosecuted.

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