LUMBERTON — Five more people have been charged as part of a drug ring that federal officials say conspired to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine and more than 2,200 pounds of marijuana in an around Robeson County.
They join seven others, including Mitchell Ray Locklear, also known as Black Mitchell and chief of Tuscarora Nation, who were recently indicted by a federal grand jury.
Locklear and six other men were arrested on March 16 in a joint local and federal law enforcement sting during which substantial amounts of cash and firearms were seized.
They have now been charged in an indictment that contains 30 counts of wrongdoing beginning in 2011 through March 16.
Locklear, 54; his son, Christopher Mitchell Locklear, 34; Timmy Lloyd Hunt, 42; Torrey Locklear, 37; Kevin Dwayne Revels, 35; Brandon Darris Locklear, all of Maxton; and 30-year-old Kevin Jeffery Clark Jr., also known as White Boy Kel, of Rowland, were arrested last month.
Last week a grand jury indicted those seven and Archie Lynn Strickland, also known as Lump; Andres Garza; Andrea True Brayboy, also known as Angie; Austin Aaron Godwin; and Eliseo Enriquez Jr. on charges of criminal conspiracy and 29 drug distribution charges.
The indictment lays out 64 items the Department of Justice expects to seize if convictions are won. The items include $168,597 in cash, 54 firearms found during the initial raid, and four vehicles allegedly used for drug-dealing activities. The vehicles include a $30,000 2016 Harley Davidson motorcycle and a $50,000 2015 Lexus sedan. The firearms include more than two dozen shotguns, a variety of handguns, an AR-15, AK-47 and larger caliber hunting rifles.
The most recent court documents again describe Mitchell Locklear as the leader of the operation. Since the indictment was released, local and federal law enforcement have been attempting to arrest the five newly named suspects, according to Shelley Lynch of the FBI’s Charlotte office. nriquez is the only member of the group arrested, according to court records reviewed Wednesday evening.
Criminal conspiracy to distribute narcotics in the amounts alleged carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $10 million. The 29 drug distribution charges level individual allegations against members of the alleged organization.
The indictment was approved by a grand jury on April 11 but not released to the public until this week.
The FBI used informants and tapped cellphones used by the suspects as part of the investigation. Two informants motivated by “patriotism,” deep roots in their community and a desire to remove “a known drug trafficker” from their neighborhood aided the investigation, on FBI agent said.
Federal agents observed the trafficking organization’s operations from several points near the Tuscarora Nation of North Carolina facility near Maxton, according to an affidavit.
The investigation focused on the Maxton area after a 2015 discovery of more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana in containers of roof tar being sent via FedEx from Mexico to Maxton. In that case Robeson County resident Gloria Estefani Rodriguez-Camacho was charged with conspiracy and drug distribution.
“These matters arose, in part, out of the same conspiracy, common scheme, and series of transactions,” assistant United States Attorney John Stuart Bruce wrote to the court last week.
According to her case file, Rodriquez-Camacho cooperated with federal authorities. She accepted a plea deal and the conspiracy charge was dropped. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
Reach Mike Gellatly at 910-816-1989 or via Twitter @MikeGellatly