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Wilmington Gang Member Sentenced on Drug Charges

RALEIGH — Joseph Anthony Vaught was sentenced to 150 months in prison Thursday in federal court on drug charges following an undercover investigation that began in late 2016.

Vaught, 29, of Wilmington, also was sentenced to five years of supervised probation following his release from custody, according to U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Robert J. Higdon Jr.

Vaught pled guilty to charges of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Vaught was the last of six men to be sentenced in this case. His five co-defendants had previously received sentences ranging from 60 to 240 months.

The convictions were the result of a long-term undercover operation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and officers of the Wilmington Police Department. Beginning in December 2016 and continuing until the federal indictment in August 2017, ATF used a confidential informant, undercover agents, and a wired undercover apartment to investigate gang and drug activity in the Wilmington area. Victor Dorm, a principal target of the investigation, was a leader of a subset of the Bloods street gang. Dorm was sentenced to 240 months’ imprisonment and 5 years of supervised release after pleading guilty in February.

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