ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A Robeson County man is in the custody of law enforcement after being charged for his alleged part in an interstate firearms and drug trafficking conspiracy.
Steve Pate, a Shannon resident, is charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, the name given to crack cocaine by federal law enforcement.
A U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent swore in an affidavit that Pate sold crack cocaine and firearms from his Shannon residence and from April 2016 through January.
The ATF, operating out of Virginia, was investigating an alleged narcotics and firearms trafficking conspiracy from eastern Virginia into North Carolina, according to court documents. During the investigation, in June 2016, a suspect in the alleged conspiracy was followed by law enforcement from Dale City, Virginia, to a trailer on Comet Drive in Red Springs.
The unnamed member of the alleged conspiracy entered the home of Pate and then was followed back up Interstate 95 into Virginia,where law enforcement stopped his vehicle. A firearm and 6.5 ounces of crack cocaine were discovered in the vehicle. After his arrest, the individual the admitted to repeatedly buying crack cocaine from Pate, according to court documents.
The unnamed party became a confidential informant for the ATF and went on to make four more buys from the trailer on Comet Drive, according to court documents.
On Feb. 1, Pate was arrested by law enforcement and interviewed. During the interview, according to ATF agent Michael Fernald, Pate admitted to cooking cocaine into crack cocaine and selling several ounces of the substance to a buyer around three times a week.
If convicted, Pate would face a minimum of 10 years in federal prison. His photograph was not available for this story.
Reach Mike Gellatly at 910-816-1989 or via Twitter @MikeGellatly