North Carolina man sentenced to more than six years in prison for methamphetamine distribution, firearm possession

Published 7:28 am Monday, February 20, 2023

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David Hedge, 22, of Wilmington, was sentenced to 75 months in prison for distribution of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, including selling a stolen gun and a privately manufactured firearm, commonly referred to as a “ghost gun,” which he bragged did not have any serial numbers and couldn’t be traced by law enforcement, according to a February 14, 2023 press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Eastern District of North Carolina.

“Non-serialized ghost guns are increasingly getting into the hands of drug traffickers and contributing to the violence in our communities,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Michael Easley. “Working with the ATF and local law enforcement, we are holding accountable those pushing illegal guns and drugs. The ‘untraceable’ gun the defendant once bragged about has led to a very traceable prison sentence.”

According to court documents and other information presented in court, on September 1, 2021, Hedge sold an ounce of methamphetamine to an undercover Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agent.

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“The agent asked Hedge if he was armed while he was dealing. Hedge produced a handgun with a high-capacity magazine loaded with 25 rounds,” stated the release. “Hedge informed the undercover officer that it was a ‘Ghost Gun,’ and described how the gun had been made on a 3-D printer. The agent purchased the gun from Hedge.”

On September 8, 2021, Hedge sold the undercover agent two loaded firearms, one of which had been reported stolen, and almost a half-ounce of methamphetamine, according to the release.

The case is part of operation “Golfer,” which is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. “OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launders, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks,” stated the release.

Easley made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the New Hanover and Brunswick County Sheriffs’ Office investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Severo and Gabe Diaz prosecuted.