Nine are headed to federal prison


W. Curt Vincent - cvincent@civitasmedia.com



Nine residents from Bladen County are heading to federal prison after pleading guilty to a variety of drug charges after a Bladen County drug ring was broken up by lawmakers.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a sophisticated drug ring was established by a husband and wife along with a third individual in 2004, and had been getting others involved since then. The main focus of the drug ring was importing cocaine from Jamaica — smuggling the cocaine into the Cape Fear region by using 52 international flights through a number of airports.

The report claims the individuals would hide the drug by ingesting it or hide it in a body cavity.

Estimates are that the drug ring imported more than 11.5 kilograms of cocaine for delivery to Jonathan Shipman, 35, of Elizabethtown, who investigators call a “drug dealer and high-level member of the United Blood Nation gang in Bladen County.”

Sent to federal prison were:

— Shawn Melvin, 41, of Elizabethtown for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. He was sentenced to 190 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release.

— Veronica Kemp, 43, of Elizabethtown for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. She was sentenced to 120 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release.

— Clayton Leslie, 37, of Elizabethtown for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and was sentenced to 120 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release.

— Shipman was sentenced to 108 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for distribution of cocaine.

— Turkesa Lesane, 35, of Elizabethtown for four months with three years of supervised release.

— Terri Smith, 31, of Clarkton for five months with three years of supervised release.

— Felicia Smith, 39, of Clarkton for five months with three years of supervised release.

— Don Smith 32, of Elizabethtown for 22 months with two years of supervised release.

— Grant McCoy, 31, of Clarkton for 30 months with five years of supervised release.

— Alicia McCoy, 25, of Lumberton for 24 months with two years of supervised release.

— Lawrence Roberson, 49, of Fayetteville for 30 months with four years of supervised release.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

W. Curt Vincent

cvincent@civitasmedia.com

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