An Enfield man will spend 90 months in prison with five years supervised release after pleading guilty to federal drug charges.

The office of U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced Tuesday that James Lee Hunter, 41, of Enfield, received the sentence from Senior United States District Judge James C. Fox.

In a prosecution made possible by the Governors’ Crime Commission, who funded the action with grant money, Hunter entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of marijuana and possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime on April 25, following his Feb. 9 indictment.

In August of 2010, according to Walker’s press release, police received a tip that Hunter and his co-defendant, Lambert McKinnon, were planning to pick up a large shipment of marijuana from Arizona and Georgia the week of Sept. 13, 2010, and would distribute the contents of the shipment in Halifax County.

Law enforcement initiated a traffic stop of McKinnon’s vehicle Sept. 15, 2010, and, following a canine search of the vehicle, discovered 108.6 pounds of marijuana and a loaded firearm.

Later that day, Walker announced, police executed a search warrant of Hunter’s residence, discovering a loaded pistol and nearly $15,000 in cash. A search of Hunter’s vehicle followed, during which officers found 70 grams of marijuana and a stolen pistol. A search of an outbuilding behind Hunter’s residence uncovered an additional 70 grams of marijuana, digital scales, packaging materials, a shotgun and three rifles, one of which was characterized as an assault rifle.

The investigation was conducted by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the Nash County Sheriff’s Office. Glen Perry, a prosecutor with the Pitt County District Attorney’s Office, acted as special assistant U.S. Attorney in the matter due to the Governor’s Crime Commission Grant funding.

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