CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Western District of North Carolina Acting U.S. Attorney William T. Stetzer and Montana Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson announced today that Wilburn Jonathan Wilson, 26, of Hickory, N.C. was sentenced to 132 months in prison and five years of supervised release on federal drug and gun charges. U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell presided over the hearing.
According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, in 2016, Wilson was convicted in North Carolina of possession of a stolen firearm. As a result of that conviction, Wilson is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition. According to court records, in March 2020, law enforcement learned that Wilson was selling firearms illegally in and around Catawba County. Court records show that, between March and July 2020, Wilson sold 26 illegal firearms, including rifles, shotguns and handguns, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. During the same time period, Wilson also possessed and distributed methamphetamine in the Hickory area.
According to court records, in April 2020, law enforcement in Montana conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle Wilson was driving for excessive speeding. Law enforcement executed a search warrant and seized from Wilson’s vehicle narcotics, a semi-automatic rifle with a full 30 round magazine, and two 12-gauge shotgun shells. Subsequently, Wilson was charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana with federal firearm violations.
In November 2020, Wilson pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon and distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine in connection with his federal case in the Western District of North Carolina. In March 2021, Wilson pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, after the federal case pending against Wilson in Montana was transferred to the Western District of North Carolina.
Wilson is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.
In making today’s announcement, Acting U.S. Attorney Stetzer thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana for its continued coordination and assistance in this case, and commended the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Montana Highway Patrol, the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office in Montana, the Hickory Police Department, and the Long View Police Department for their investigation of the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Hess of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte was in charge of Wilson’s prosecution in North Carolina. Wilson’s case in Montana was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan P. McCarthy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Billings.