Local News

Rocky Mount man faces life for machine gun, drug charges

Posted July 16, 2012 8:37 a.m. EDT
Updated July 16, 2012 2:05 p.m. EDT

— 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.