06/17/2019
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RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today in federal court, Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced MARCUS ANTONIO BLANKS, 32, of Saint Pauls, North Carolina, to 168 months in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release.

On February 6, 2019, BLANKS pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Cocaine; Possession with Intent to Distribute a Quantity Cocaine, Cocaine Base (Crack), and Marijuana; and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime.

In February 2018, a detective with the Fayetteville Police Department (FPD), was contacted by a confidential informant (CI) who advised that BLANKS was selling large quantities of cocaine in the Parkton area of Robeson County.  On February 27, 2018, under the direction of law enforcement, the CI purchased 56.7 grams of cocaine from BLANKS.

On March 15, 2018, the CI purchased approximately 3.5 ounces of cocaine from BLANKS.  However, prior to completing the transaction, the CI requested that BLANKS cook some of the cocaine into cocaine base (crack).  BLANKS cooked a portion of the cocaine and subsequently provided the CI with 63 grams of cocaine base and 42.8 grams of cocaine.

The investigation further revealed that Edward Jones was the supplier of the controlled substances for BLANKS.  Jones previously pled guilty to federal drug charges on November 15, 2018 and is awaiting sentencing.

Robeson County Sheriff’s Deputies executed a search warrant on the home of BLANKS.  Upon arrival at the residence, BLANKS was observed fleeing the residence on foot.  After a brief pursuit, he was captured and detained.  A search of the residence uncovered 77.6 grams of cocaine, 187.2 grams of marijuana, a .22 caliber rifle, a 9mm handgun, and $2,424 in U.S. currency.

This case was brought using the Take Back North Carolina Initiative of The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.  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 enforcemen

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Fayetteville Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott A. Lemmon.

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