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Durham man gets 24 years for scheme to defraud drug dealer

Posted April 10, 2010

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— A Durham man was sentenced to 24 years in prison Thursday for his role in a scheme to forge money to buy cocaine from a Mexican drug dealer.

Petera Micale Carlton, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug-trafficking crime. Prosecutors noted that he will be nearly 60 years old by the time he is released from federal prison.

Prosecutors said that Carlton and another man were to conduct the exchange with the drug dealer, but, instead, Carlton pulled out a gun, fired at the dealer, stole the drugs and fled the scene. At the time, he was on probation stemming from a conviction for possession of a firearm by a felon.

Duplin County sheriff's deputies recovered half of the drugs, firearms used in the crime and counterfeit money during the raid of a house in Faison on March 7, 2008.

Five other people were charged in the drug scheme and in a separate identity theft plot:

  • Melissa Payton — pleaded guilty to manufacturing counterfeit money; received a 4-month prison sentence
  • Felisa Carlton — pleaded guilty to manufacturing counterfeit money; received a 4-year prison sentence
  • Jokwan Harvey — pleaded guilty to manufacturing counterfeit money, possessing 15 unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft; received a 4-year prison sentence
  • Marcus Nelums — pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and possessing a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime; received a 6½-year prison sentence
  • Linwood Smith — pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime; sentenced as a career offender to 15 years in prison

Petera Carlton received the most severe sentence because he was the last defendant to cooperate, prosecutors said.

He had previous convictions for selling drugs and larceny, among other offenses, according to state Department of Correction records.

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