DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of North Carolina

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Robert J. Higdon, Jr.
, United States Attorney
Contact: Don Connelly

Jacksonville Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison After Conviction for Crack Cocaine Conspiracy

GREENVILLE – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that yesterday Senior United States District Judge Malcolm J. Howard sentenced, ANTHONY DEPREE SMITH, also known as “Straight,” a 45-year-old resident of Jacksonville, to 360 months imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release.  SMITH was convicted on January 30, 2019, following a two-day trial, of Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute Two Hundred Eighty (280) Grams or More of Cocaine Base (Crack). 

The evidence at trial showed that SMITH had operated a decades-long crack cocaine organization in the city of Jacksonville, North Carolina, supplying multiple people with crack cocaine for resale on the street.  Members of the Jacksonville Police Department conducted over a dozen controlled purchases of crack cocaine from members of SMITH’s organization and ultimately linked those drugs back to their supplier, SMITH.  At trial, the evidence included a financial investigation which  showed that SMITH had deposited over $118,000 in cash into a bank account that could not be accounted for from other, legitimate sources.

The following additional individuals were charged in relation to the drug conspiracy as part of Operation Straight Outta Niru, and their sentences are listed below:

  • Cotomi Jamel Cooper of Jacksonville, North Carolina – 156 months in prison
  • Leroy Edward Dinkins of Jacksonville, North Carolina – 65 months in prison
  • Jesse Lee Parker of Jacksonville, North Carolina –  84 months in prison
  • Matthew Smith of Jacksonville, North Carolina – 60 months in prison
  • Kenneth Sylvester Dennis of Jacksonville, North Carolina – 86 months in prison
  • Angelina Renee Diehl of Jacksonville, North Carolina – 72 months in prison
  • Horace Cox of New Bern, North Carolina – 68 months in prison
  • Terry Humphrey of Jacksonville, North Carolina – 24 months in prison
  • Yvonda Jean Lewis of Jacksonville, North Carolina – 6 months in prison

Mr. Higdon commented:  “The prosecution of Anthony Smith, and others like him, highlights our focus as we seek to take our communities back from drug traffickers and violent criminals.  Smith controlled a significant portion of the illegal drug trade which plagued Jacksonville for many years.  His conviction is an important step in helping law enforcement and the people of Jacksonville to eliminate this problem and it is an important step in our effort to “Take Back North Carolina.”

This case was brought using 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 Jacksonville Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), and the United States Marshals Service.  Laura S. Howard prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

Charlotte Field Division