Drug convict receives federal prison sentence

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A Lucama woman will spend more than a decade in a federal prison after prosecutors say she was a part of drug trafficking organization in Wilson and Nash counties.

Crystal Marie Pate, 32, was sentenced to 11 1/2 years in prison, followed by five years of federal supervised release. Chief U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced Pate.

On Feb. 20, Pate pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of methamphetamine and a quantity of heroin and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime while aiding and abetting another.

In 2015, the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office identified a drug-trafficking organization led by Pate and her co-defendents, federal prosecutors said.

Shortly after identifying the suspects, the investigation into the drug trafficking ring began, according to authorities.

The investigation consisted of surveillance, seizures and controlled purchases of several different types of drugs including heroin, methamphetamine and assorted pills, federal prosecutors said. The investigation also led to the execution of a search warrant which resulted in the seizure of drug packaging materials, quantities of heroin, methamphetamine and other controlled substance, federal officials said.

The court determined that Pate was responsible for the distribution of 10.38 grams of heroin and 23.81 grams of methamphetamine, and the possession of a firearm in furtherance of her drug trafficking activity — specifically a .44-caliber Charter Arms handgun, federal officials said.

The case was investigated by the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation.