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DOJRALEIGH – The United States Attorney’s Office announced that on Monday in federal court, United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced Smith Merinord, 23, of Dunn to 865 months imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release and Cortese Tramand Davis, 26, of Henderson to 528 months imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release.

Merinord and Davis were named in a 12-count Superseding Indictment filed on September 9, 2015. On June 7, 2016, Davis  pled guilty to 4-counts and Merinord was found guilty of 6-counts in the Superseding Indictment on June 8, 2016. Both entered the Advance Auto Parts Store on Owen Drive in Fayetteville on November 2, 2013 and Merinord was armed with a small Uzi and Davis was armed with mace. They threatened the employees with the firearm during

the robbery and Merinord raped and sexually assaulted a female employee before fleeing with cash. Prior to departing, Davis sprayed the employees with mace. Later that day, Merinord and  Davis robbed another Advanced Auto on Roberts Avenue in Lumberton. Merinord again threatened store employees with the Uzi and they fled with cash and a .22 caliber revolver from one of the victims.

On November 8, 2013, Davis was arrested and provided an unprotected statement wherein he denied participation in the rape and claimed to not know the name of his accomplice. He acknowledged his participation in the robberies.

On November 16, 2013, Merinord and another accomplice entered the Red Lobster located on McPherson Church Road in Fayetteville and held the manager at gunpoint and stole cash before fleeing. Off duty officers and other law enforcement apprehended Merinord and his accomplice in the CarMax parking lot located near the Red Lobster. Merinord had a small Uzi in his waistband.

This case was part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative which encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Fayetteville Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Assistant United States Attorneys Frank Bradsher and Peggah Wilson represented the government.