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North Carolina man sentenced to five years in prison, three years of supervised release for firearm charge

A Chadbourn man was sentenced July 20 to 60 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of North Carolina. On April 22, 2021, Paul Freeman, 39, pleaded guilty to the charge.

According to court documents and other information presented in court, Freeman possessed a 9mm handgun in connection with his sale of crack and cocaine.

“In the Spring of 2020, law enforcement received complaints that Freeman was selling drugs from his residence in Chadbourn,” stated the release. “Freeman was previously convicted of multiple drug offenses and also had pending state charges related to drug trafficking offenses from 2017 and 2018.

“In March 2020, law enforcement conducted a controlled purchase from Freeman at his residence and obtained a search warrant which was executed on March 11, 2020,” the release continued. “The search recovered paraphernalia, digital scales, quantities of crack and cocaine, as well as a 9mm handgun together in a closet of Freeman’s residence.”

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 (ATF) and the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Stephany prosecuted.

“This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone,” stated the release. “The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina implements the PSN Program through its Take Back North Carolina Initiative. This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.”

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