North Carolina man sentenced to more than five years in prison for fentanyl, firearm charges

Published 8:46 am Sunday, July 3, 2022

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Earl Lamont Vaughan, 45, of Murfreesboro, was sentenced June 13, 2022 to 70 months in prison for possessing fentanyl with intent to distribute and for being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of North Carolina. Vaughan pleaded guilty to the charges on March 9, 2022.

According to court records and statements made during hearings, on April 2, 2019 at around 2 p.m., officers were canvassing the area of Benthall Bridge Road in Murfreesboro looking for a residence where they had heard reports of Vaughan making heroin sales.

“While driving, they saw Vaughan drive past in the opposite direction, and they were aware that his license had been revoked,” stated the release. “Officers turned around and watched Vaughan pull into a driveway and enter a house. They knocked on the door to the house, and Vaughan took several minutes to respond.

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“After explaining they had seen him driving without a license, officers asked Vaughan to speak with them about drug sales. He denied drug sales and told officers that the home belonged to his aunt,” the release continued. “His aunt stated that she knew nothing about any drug sales and consented to a search.”

During the search of the home, officers found a bedroom containing clothes and other belongings of Vaughan’s, as well as a digital scale with a brown powder residue. “Officers secured the residence and obtained a search warrant. Resuming the search an hour later, they found a loaded .25 caliber Astra handgun in a white clothesbasket in Vaughan’s room,” stated the release. “From another clothesbasket, they seized a blender with powder residue and a bag of white powder. In the same basket, they found 36 grams of fentanyl in a blue water bottle.”

According to the release, Vaughan consented to be interviewed and admitted to possessing the fentanyl – which he had believed to be heroin – and mixing it in the blender with the white powder.

“Vaughan’s prior convictions include three state drug felonies, as well as a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and inflicting serious injury,” stated the release.

Michael F. Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. The Hertford County Sheriff’s Department, Bertie County Sheriff’s Department and Murfreesboro Police Department conducted the investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jake D. Pugh prosecuted the case.