RALEIGH, NC (STL.News) – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that yesterday, United States District Judge James C. Dever, III sentenced ALBERT VINES, 29, of Fayetteville to 326 months’ imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised release. Mr. Vines was also on federal supervised release for a previous firearm conviction when he committed the instant offenses for which he was sentenced today. Judge Dever revoked Mr. Vines’ supervised release and sentenced him to 30 months in BOP consecutive to his 326 month sentence.
On December 11, 2018, VINES pled guilty to one count of Brandishing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence and one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Quantities of Marijuana, Cocaine Base, and Cocaine.
On April 20, 2017, officers with the Fayetteville Police Department (FPD) responded to a robbery call at Tony’s Mart located on Ramsey Street in Fayetteville. Upon arrival, the officers made contact with the owner of the business who reported that an individual, later identified as VINES, entered the business wearing all black clothing and asked the owner if there was a fair in town. VINES then brandished a firearm, pointed it at the owner’s face, and stated, “give me the money.” The owner went to the cash register and withdrew $600 which he then gave to VINES. VINES also asked the owner for his firearm, which was hidden under the cash register. The owner handed VINES his Smith and Wesson .40 caliber firearm and VINES subsequently fled from the store on foot.
On May 25, 2017, investigators with the Raleigh Police Department (RPD) attempted to conduct a traffic stop of a vehicle being driven by VINES due to having knowledge that VINES’ driver’s license was suspended. VINES refused to stop his vehicle and drove away at a high rate of speed until stopping behind a building. Once stopped, VINES and an unidentified passenger fled on foot. VINES ran down Huntleigh Drive and was able to successfully elude apprehension. Investigators returned to VINES’vehicle and detected a strong odor of marijuana emanating from within the vehicle. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed 13.71 grams of marijuana, 7.08 grams of cocaine base, 1.81 grams of cocaine, a handgun holster, 32 rounds of .40-caliber ammunition, a marijuana grinder, 2 digital scales, and VINES’North Carolina identification card.
On June 4, 2017, investigators with the RPD were dispatched to a residence on Huntleigh Drive in reference to a handgun being found in the caller’s backyard. The residence was in the same general vicinity where VINES fled on foot on May 25, 2017. The firearm was confirmed to be the same firearm which was stolen from the owner of Tony’s Mart during the robbery on April 20, 2017.
On June 6, 2017, VINES was arrested and released by the RPD on charges related to his May 25, 2017, conduct. On June 27, 2017, he was arrested by the FPD on charges related to his April 20, 2017, conduct.
Based upon the investigation, VINES brandished a firearm during a crime of violence on April 20, 2017. On May 17, 2017, the defendant possessed a firearm while possessing with the intent to distribute 13.71 grams of marijuana, 7.08 grams of cocaine base, and 1.81 grams of cocaine.
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 on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.
The case was investigated by the Fayetteville Police Department, Raleigh Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). Assistant United States Attorney Daniel W. Smith prosecuted the case for the government.