A Wilkes County man was sentenced to 188 months (15 ½ years) in federal prison Thursday after pleading guilty to drug and gun charges.
Roger Mack Royal, 40, of Chickadee Drive, North Wilkesboro, also must remain under court supervision for five year after his release from prison under the sentence issued by U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth D. Bell in Charlotte.
According to court documents and testimony, Royal; co-conspirator April Renee Hicks, 36, of South West Street, Wilkesboro; and another defendant, Joshua Allen McCloud, 39, Brookshire Road, Lenoir, trafficked methamphetamine in Wilkes and Caldwell counties and elsewhere in Western North Carolina in January 2019.
Royal and Hicks were arrested on Jan. 29, 2019, after a drug transaction in a Walmart parking lot, stated a press release from the U.S. attorney’s office in Charlotte. This led to a stolen firearm being recovered from Royal’s vehicle.
A Wilkesboro Police Department spokesman said Royal and Hicks were arrested in Lenoir and also said some of the undercover drug purchases in the case occurred in Wilkesboro.
Royal, Hicks and McCloud were charged in connected cases that resulted in the seizure of 367 grams of meth, according to a press release jointly issued earlier by North Wilkesboro Police Chief Joe Rankin and Wilkesboro Police Chief Craig Garris.
On May 19, Royal pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, four counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of meth and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Earlier, Hicks was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute meth and possession with intent to distribute and distribution of meth.
McCloud was sentenced earlier to 11 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to federal drug and firearm offenses.
The press release from the U.S. attorney’s office said law enforcement recovered two firearms, a 60-round drum magazine, 39 rounds of assorted ammunition, narcotics and drug paraphernalia from McCloud’s residence during the investigation.
It also said Royal qualified for a sentencing enhancement as an armed career criminal because he has over 40 convictions on state felony charges in North Carolina and South Carolina.
Andrew Murray, U.S. attorney for the Western (N.C.) District of U.S. District Court, credited the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; State Bureau of Investigation; Wilkesboro, North Wilkesboro and Boone police departments; and Wilkes, Caldwell, Ashe, Alexander and Yadkin county sheriff’s offices for their cooperation and coordination in the investigation.