RED SPRINGS, N.C. — A judge sentenced the ringleader of a drug and firearms ring operated out of Hoke County to 320 months in prison Monday.
Charles Melvin Campbell Jr. is the tenth defendant to plead guilty as a result of "Operation Hot Soup," a yearlong joint operation between the Red Springs Police Department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“Charles Campbell and his co-defendants ran a highly organized drug trafficking ring for decades while using firearms to protect the business in an area known as the ‘Compound,’" Zebedee T. Graham, special agent in charge of the ATF Charlotte field division, said.
More than 100 law enforcement officers took part last May in a raid on the collection of mobile homes and outbuildings on Johnson Road, including deputies from Cumberland and Hoke counties and Fayetteville police officers.
The "Compound" distributed large quantities of crack cocaine and marijuana, sold illegal firearms and fenced stolen property for years, Red Springs Police Chief Troy McDuffie said at the time.
Campbell was charged with conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine and for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.