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North Carolina man convicted of firearm, drug charges

A federal jury convicted Jourden Tairee Shepard, 23, of Onslow County, last week on two counts of a three-count indictment charging him with of (1) possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, (2) possession with the intent to distribute quantities of fentanyl and cocaine, and (3) possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of North Carolina. Prior to trial, Shepard pleaded guilty to count two of the indictment.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, on August 14, 2020, members of the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit were conducting surveillance on an open air drug market known to locals as “The Hill” when officers observed Shepard’s car pull into The Hill and engage in activity consistent with narcotic sales.

“Shepard’s vehicle was stopped for fictitious tags as he was leaving the area,” stated the release. “A K9 sniff and subsequent search revealed crack cocaine, bundles of fentanyl, a loaded Glock 17 handgun, and $2246 in cash all in the center console of the vehicle. Shepard had been previously convicted of multiple felonies.”

Shepard is set to be sentenced on October 12, 2021.

G. Norman Acker III, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt accepted the verdict. The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Crime Lab investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Boykin prosecuted.

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