Man Sentenced To 12 Years For Drug Trafficking And Firearm Offense

A 31 year-old Dunn man will spend the next 12 years of his life in federal prison.

Ernest Terrell McKoy was sentenced on Thursday in federal court in Raleigh by Chief US District Judge Terrence W. Boyle to 144 months imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised release, according to an announcement by United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr.

McKoy had been named in a three-count Superseding Indictment filed on November 7, 2018. On January 3, 2019, McKoy pled guilty to distribution of a quantity of methamphetamine and to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

On November 6, 2017, investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) utilized a confidential informant to purchase an unspecified amount of methamphetamine (meth) from McKoy at his residence in Dunn in Harnett County.

On July 3, 2018, deputies with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop of a 2005 Mercedes on Parkertown Road near Four Oaks driven by McKoy. A search of the car resulted in the seizure of a stolen Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol, ammunition, and a large capacity magazine in a bag behind the front passenger seat. Investigation determined that the firearm was reported stolen to the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office on September 2, 2017 from an address on Braswell Road near Smithfield.

On September 7, 2018, McKoy was arrested federally for possessing a firearm on July 3, 2018. Subsequent to his arrest, McKoy provided a statement to investigators during which he admitted to selling 85 grams of crystal meth every other day for about eight or nine months. He also admitted to purchasing 7 grams of heroin six times (42 grams of heroin).  He stated that he possessed the firearm on July 3, 2018, because he sold narcotics. McKoy also admitted that he traded 2 grams of narcotics and $400 in U.S. currency for the firearm around September 2017.

On September 11, 2018, a search of McKoy and his belongings prior to his initial appearance in federal court in Raleigh, resulted in the seizure of an unspecified amount of methamphetamine.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Since 2017 the United States Department of Justice has reinvigorated the PSN program and has targeted violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

That effort has been implemented through 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 enforcement.

Investigation of this case was conducted by ATF and the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Daniel W. Smith prosecuted the case for the government.