North Carolina man sentenced to 15 years in prison for firearms charge

Published 7:54 am Sunday, December 19, 2021

A Greenville man was sentenced Thursday, December 9, 2021 to 180 months in prison for possessing multiple firearms as a convicted felon in violation of federal law, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of North Carolina. Errol Rahnell Taheim Baston, 37, pleaded guilty on September 1, 2021.

According to court documents and other information presented in court, Baston was found to be in possession of three firearms despite being a convicted felon. According to the release, on April 19, 2021, the Greenville Police Department’s (GPD) Violent Criminal Apprehension Team (VCAT), Emergency Response Team (ERT), Drone Unit and K-9 Unit responded to 3816 Sterling Pointe Drive to serve arrest warrants on Baston for attempted first degree murder, second degree kidnapping, assault by strangulation and assault on a female.

“Greenville Police received information that Baston held a female subject against her will inside the residence, assaulted her, and attempted to drown and kill her in front of her children,” stated the release. “Greenville Police also learned that Baston had access to multiple firearms and was known to randomly discharge his firearms in his backyard.”

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GPD positioned an armored rescue vehicle (ARV) and public speaker system in front of Baston’s residence. “Despite GPD’s multiple attempts to convince Baston to exit the residence, he refused to do so and a standoff ensued. ERT officers observed Baston moving throughout the house and looking through blinds,” stated the release. “During the standoff, assets deployed by GPD’s Drone Unit captured Baston standing in his back-patio area attempting to hide an AR-15 style rifle under the fence into the adjacent residence’s patio.”

ERT officers then breached the front door and Baston fled on foot from the residence out the back door, running about 100 yards before a K9 officer detained him and Greenville police officers arrested him, according to the release. The response and chase were captured on drone video.

Following Baston’s arrest, VCAT detectives and officers executed a search warrant on the residence. “Inside Baston’s residence, GPD recovered multiple loaded firearms and ammunition, including one 5.56 caliber semi-automatic rifle, one 12-gauge shotgun, one .40 caliber handgun, and over 60 rounds of ammunition,” stated the release. “Officers also recovered two spent rifle shell casings in the patio area and clumps of the female subject victim’s hair that was apparently pulled out by Baston during the assault.”

Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) arrested Baston on a federal firearms charges on April 21, 2021 after they applied for and secured a criminal complaint from United States Magistrate Judge Kimberly A. Swank.

Baston was sentenced as an armed career criminal due to three prior felony convictions for violent crimes, including first degree robbery – use of a dangerous weapon, first degree robbery – use of a dangerous instrument, and assault with intent to cause serious physical injury, according to the release.

U.S. Attorney Michael F. Easley Jr. commented: “The United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina are relentlessly pursuing violent offenders and combatting domestic violence. This sentence reflects the shared commitment between our office and our federal and local law enforcement partners to protect our communities from violent crime.”

“Felons and career criminals in possession of firearms are a serious threat to the community and a major concern for law enforcement,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Vince Pallozzi. “ATF is proud to have been a part of this collaborative effort to bring this violent individual to justice and better the safety in this community.”

Easley made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle. The Greenville Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Aakash Singh prosecuted.