United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced Wednesday in federal court in Raleigh, United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced Tonya Renee Hartman, 39, of Erwin, North Carolina, to 150 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised released.
On November 7, 2018, Hartman was named in a two-count indictment charging her with possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in commission of a drug trafficking crime. On March 21, 2019, Hartman pled guilty to both counts.
On August 24, 2018, an Erwin Police officer received information from a credible source who advised that within the last 72 hours they observed Hartman selling methamphetamine to others from her residence in Erwin. Additionally, the informant stated that the narcotics and a firearm were kept in the residence.
On the same date, officers with the Erwin Police Department, Harnett County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) executed a search warrant at Hartman’s residence. Forced entry had to be made into the home. Officers made contact with Hartman and seized 42.02 grams of methamphetamine, a loaded semi-automatic firearm with six rounds of ammunition, an unknown quantity of Oxycodone and Adderall pills, $3,045 U.S. currency, a set of digital scales with powder residue, and a video surveillance system.
On the same date, Hartman provided a statement to law enforcement advising she sold methamphetamine out of her residence and that she purchased and sold 1 to 2 ounces of methamphetamine every two weeks for a little less than a year, conservatively considered 623.7 grams of methamphetamine. She was also in possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. She also maintained a premises for the purpose of manufacturing or distributing a controlled substance.
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 in those communities on a sustained basis to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Erwin Police Department, Harnett County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorney Daniel W. Smith prosecuted the case for the government.