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A Roanoke Rapids man charged in a 2016 drug bust was sentenced today to 77 months in federal prison.

Jermaine Hale, 30, was sentenced in Greenville by Senior United States District Judge Malcolm J. Howard.

Hale also received five years of supervised release once he completes his nearly six-and-a-half year sentence.

United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Robert J. Higdon Jr. said in a statement Hale was named in a three-count Indictment on March 17, 2017, charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition; possession with intent to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  

On December 2, of last year he pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute the drugs, as well as possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. 

According to the investigation, on November 10, 2016, Halifax County Sheriff’s Office narcotics agents were investigating drug complaints in what is traditionally called the Lincoln Heights community of Roanoke Rapids.  

They noticed a car abruptly pull into a driveway as they drove in its direction, making it appear the driver was attempting to evade law enforcement.  

The agents circled back to conduct surveillance.  

The driver again started to pull out of the driveway only to pull back into the driveway when the agents revealed themselves.  

The agents approached and saw the driver, later identified as Hale, appear to place something under his seat.  

As they came up to him, they noticed a strong odor of marijuana.  

As Hale attempted to walk away, plastic baggies began falling from his pants leg.  

Agents attempted to detain him, but he resisted and began to reach toward his waistband.  

One of the agents then deployed a taser and subdued him.

Agents searched Hale’s clothing and concealed inside his pants found a plastic bag containing 13 grams of crack cocaine, 17 grams of powder cocaine, and 29 grams of marijuana.  

They searched his car and found a Sig Sauer .45-caliber handgun loaded with seven rounds sitting underneath the driver’s seat. 

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, 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,” Higdon said.

 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 Halifax County Sheriff’s Office and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives conducted the investigation.  

Assistant United States Attorney Jake D. Pugh represented the government.