St. Pauls man gets 14 years for drugs, weapons crimes

By: Staff report
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RALEIGH — A St. Pauls man has been sentenced in U.S. District Court to 14 years in prison for multiple narcotics charges and a weapons charge.

The sentence for Marcus Antonio Blanks, 32, was handed down by Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle, according Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Blanks’ sentence also includes five years of supervised release after he gets out of prison.

Blanks pleaded guilty on Feb. 6 to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine; possession with intent to distribute a quantity cocaine, cocaine base (crack), and marijuana; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, according to Higdon.

He was arrested Aug. 29, 2018, by Robeson County Sheriff’s Office deputies who searched his residence after an investigation conducted by the Fayetteville Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office.

In February 2018, a Fayetteville police detective was contacted by a confidential informant who said Blanks was selling large quantities of cocaine in the Parkton area, according to Higdon. Under the direction of law enforcement, the confidential information bought 56.7 grams of cocaine from Blanks on Feb. 27, 2018.

On March 15, 2018, the confidential informant bought about 3.5 ounces of cocaine from Blanks, according to Higdon. Before completing the transaction, the confidential informant requested that Blanks cook some of the cocaine into cocaine base (crack). Blanks cooked a portion of the cocaine and subsequently provided the confidential informant with 63 grams of cocaine base and 42.8 grams of cocaine.

When Robeson County deputies arrived to search Blanks’ home, Blanks was seen fleeing the residence on foot. He was captured after a brief pursuit. A search of the residence revealed 77.6 grams of cocaine, 187.2 grams of marijuana, a .22 caliber rifle, a 9mm handgun, and $2,424 in cash.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott A. Lemmon.

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Staff report