Local News

Rocky Mount man faces life for machine gun, drug charges

Posted July 16, 2012

— A Rocky Mount man could spend the rest of his life in federal prison for owning a machine gun and dealing drugs.

Samuel Lee Cooper, 36, pleaded guilty last Wednesday to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime and possessing a machine gun. At a hearing on Oct. 15, he could be sentenced to life in prison for the drug-trafficking conviction and up to 10 years for the machine-gun charge.

Prosecutors said that police officers investigating reports of a drug dealer in October 2010 noticed marijuana in plain view at Cooper's home. After getting a search warrant, they found a Norinco SKS 7.62 fully automatic rifle, Smith and Wesson .22-caliber Ruger revolver and ammunition inside his home, according to prosecutors.

Cooper has already served a year in state prison after being convicted for possession of a firearm by a felon and maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance in connection that search, according to state Division of Adult Correction records. He also has a 1994 conviction for felony drug possession.


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  • bru333 Jul 16, 2012

    "Smith and Wesson .22-caliber Ruger revolver"

    so which is it? Smith and Wesson or Ruger? The same gun can't be made by both manufacturers.

  • SmokeWagon Jul 16, 2012

    The Norinco SKS 7.62 was not designed to be a "fully automatic" rifle...now with that said maybe modifications could be done....but the caliber is such that it would take a huge rambo type man to hold something like that in "auto"...probably just a false "news" media interpretation...!!! Any thing more than a single shot BB gun is worthy of mass hysteria on their part...!!!!

  • JPE Jul 16, 2012

    Machine gun: If it fires more than one round without another pull by the finger, the BATFE says it's a machine gun.
    Yes, extremely unlikely in the case of an SKS to be determined to be a machine gun, without an extraordinary amount of modification, but the BATFE guys are well-known (amongst firearms enthusiasts) for kicking, hammering, dropping, overheating, and otherwise messing around with a suspect's weapon until it will produce more than one fire from a single pull, then crying "this is an unlawful machine gun." The cases are numerous.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jul 16, 2012

    Busting him for the gun thing I can understand. The drug thing?...not so much.

    Why would anyone, especially a self-professed "less government" person, care what consenting adults do with their own bodies?

    What business is it of yours? How is that pro-freedom and pro-liberty?

    The next thing you'll be doing is creating laws controlling who people can love and marry.


  • confederateyankee Jul 16, 2012

    Unless drastically altered, the SKS is not a machine gun. It was designed as a semi-automatic carbine (one shot per trigger pull) by Simonov in the USSR near the end of WWII for the then-new 7.62x39 intermediate cartridge. As another WRAL commenter accurately noted, the SKS was an extremely popular surplus firearm sold in bulk for decades, even from big-box retailers.

    I, for one, would be very interested to strip and review the parts of this firearm, just to see if it really qualifies as a MG.

    That allowed, let the suspect rot for the drug charges.

  • Ipromiseitwonthurt Jul 16, 2012

    A man ain't nothin' without his machine gun.

  • itsmyownopinion Jul 16, 2012

    Is it a stiffer sentence because he was charged by federal agents rather than the local PD or Sheriff's Department?

  • Disabled Vet Jul 16, 2012

    teleman please tell me what a Wesson .22 cal Ruger is.

    Thank you as I just might want to have one.

  • WRALwontdeletemyaccount Jul 16, 2012

    "We all need to hear from you since we live here in the REAL America where NO GUN LAWS HAVE CHANGED! "

    I guess you haven't heard about the reporting requirements now for border states for firearms sales then? Or the changes in import laws which forbid the importation of barrels with parts kits.

    Do you want me to go on? These have happened within the past two years.

  • WRALwontdeletemyaccount Jul 16, 2012

    Need has nothing to do with owning a gun regardless of the type. You don't NEED scuba gear.