Man Sentenced To Life For Drug Distribution, Money Laundering

James Pressley
James Pressley

A 43 year-old man was sentenced to life imprisonment on Wednesday in federal court in Wilmington.

James Rodrequias Pressley, 43, of Dunn was convicted by a federal jury in July 2014 on 13 drug-related and money laundering charges.

Pressley was the target of an investigation into the distribution of narcotics in the Dunn area. From at least 1999 to 2012. Pressley was an upper-level drug trafficker who was responsible for possessing and distributing approximately just over 2 kilograms of crack cocaine and 191.5 kilograms of cocaine, received from several supplies.

Pressley used numerous others to distribute the drugs throughout Eastern North Carolina and also converted some of his cocaine into crack cocaine. Between December 12, 2011, and February 1, 2012, agents used a confidential informant to conduct several controlled purchases of crack cocaine. Several of the controlled buys occurred at Pressley’s home in Dunn.

The IRS determined that Pressley had no verifiable employment history during the time of the offense. However, between June 12, 2009, and August 17, 2010, he purchased several properties on Railroad Avenue in Dunn for a total of $10,500.  He also made additions and/or renovations to the properties valued at $12,000. Prosecutors said he used these properties to sell and store cocaine and crack cocaine, and store proceeds from his drug-trafficking activities.

During the drug conspiracy, Pressley ostensibly operated a legitimate music business, Blackbird Entertainment (BE), as well as a landscaping business in Dunn. He used drug proceeds to pay for concerts and production costs in an attempt to promote BE. He also used $7,860.35 in drug proceeds to purchase equipment for his landscaping business. In order to conceal the source of illegal proceeds, between January 5, 2009, and November 22, 2011, he made deposits totaling $29,805 to the bank account of his girlfriend, deposits totaling $20,060, to his landscaping account, and deposits totaling $15,000 to his account at Bank of America. Investigators also determined that between September 5, 2009, and February 28, 2011, he used 3 $26,912 in drug proceeds to purchase at least three vehicles.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the Dunn Police Department.