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home : news : e-news June 19, 2021

6/10/2021 12:57:00 PM
Hickory Man Gets Lengthy Federal Sentence

Lincoln Herald Staff

Last September the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office participated in a local, state and federal operation named “Project Guardian” which resulted in the seizure of more than a hundred firearms and the indictment of seventeen Catawba Valley residents on federal firearms and narcotics violations. The firearms that were recovered were stolen, unregistered and or had been used in the commission of violent crimes.

One of those arrested was Wilburn Jonathan Wilson, now 26, of Hickory.  US District Judge Kenneth D. Bell sentenced Wilson to 132 months in prison and five years of supervised release at a hearing in Charlotte.  

According to court records, in March 2020, law enforcement learned that Wilson was selling firearms illegally in and around Catawba County. Court records show that, between March and July 2020, Wilson sold 26 illegal firearms, including rifles, shotguns and handguns, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. During the same time period, Wilson also possessed and distributed methamphetamine in the Hickory area.

Law enforcement in Montana stopped the vehicle Wilson was driving for speeding in April of last year.   Law enforcement executed a search warrant and seized from Wilson’s vehicle narcotics, a semi-automatic rifle with a full 30-round magazine, and two 12-gauge shotgun shells. Subsequently, Wilson was charged by the US Attorney’s Office for Montana with federal firearm violations. Those cases were still pending when in November 2020, Wilson pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon and distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine in connection with his federal case in North Carolina. In March 2021, Wilson pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, after the federal case pending against Wilson in Montana was transferred to the Western District of North Carolina.

Sheriff Don Brown commented: "Catawba County is a safer place today thanks to the incredible success of our local, state and federal partnerships."

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