Kittrell Man Sentenced to More Than Six Years on Drug, Gun Charges

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-Press Release, U.S. Department of Justice

United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today in federal court, United States District Judge James C. Dever, III, sentenced PRESTON OBRYAN MILES, 35, of Kittrell to 78 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release.

MILES was named in a two-count Indictment on July 10, 2019, charging him with possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine and possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. On November 1, 2019, he pled guilty to the Indictment.

According to the investigation, on Saturday, July 21, 2018, a Franklinton Police Department officer was on patrol near NC 56 in Franklinton, North Carolina, when he saw a black Toyota Camry with heavily tinted windows. As he began following the Camry, he could smell marijuana, and he noticed that the smell diminished when he switched lanes away from the car. The officer ran the tag and also found that the registered owner had an expired license.

The officer initiated a traffic stop and made contact with the driver, who was identified as MILES. The smell of marijuana was strong, and the officer spotted several partially smoked marijuana cigarettes inside the car. Backup arrived and officers searched the car. They noticed that the carpet liner in the trunk was not attached on the edges. In the space between the carpet liner and the frame of the car, officers found a plastic bag containing a cardboard box, which itself contained two bricks of heroin—approximately 100 single-dose bags. The box also contained two loose bindles of 10 bags each, a plastic baggie of approximately 3 grams of raw heroin, and tools of the drug trade, including a wooden stamp with a Mercedes symbol, a bag of small rubber bands, and scotch tape. Further back between the carpet liner and side of the car, officers found a black FN 5.7x28mm pistol.

Officers later reviewed communications from jail, in which MILES, in discussing his car, directed a woman to get items out of “the head” and stated that “I got a brick in the head.”  On July 26, 2018, law enforcement obtained a search warrant to re-search the car. They found a digital scale hidden in a hole in the bottom of the passenger seat headrest, and behind the scale, they found a brick of heroin and a plastic bag of cocaine. Using a camera to search deeper into the area between the carper liner and the passenger side of the car, officers located a second handgun, a Smith & Wesson revolver.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Since 2017, the United States Department of Justice has reinvigorated the PSN program and has targeted violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

That effort has been implemented through the Take Back North Carolina Initiative of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina. This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices in those communities on a sustained basis to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.

The Franklinton Police Department, State Bureau of Investigation, and Department of Homeland Security conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jake D. Pugh represented the government.

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