Lillington man sentenced on federal gun charges

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A Lillington man was sentenced to 4 years and 3 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm on Thursday.

Tyrese Quintarius Pegues, 19, will have to serve three years of supervised release after prison, according to a release from Robert J. Higdon, Jr., the United States attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced Pegues three months after Pegues pled guilty to the gun charge.

On Aug. 25, 2018, a call was placed to the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office in Lillington concerning shots fired at a residence in Heritage Village, according to the release. “Deputies responded and identified the address in question as 1346 Heritage Way. Deputies noted bullet holes in the house and in a vehicle, and they then made entry through the unsecured front door.

“Once inside, they observed firearms, currency, a small quantity of marijuana and a $10 bill in a jar, and packaging material in the kitchen and in a bedroom in plain view. A .380 caliber handgun was located in one of the bedrooms with the slide locked back. Shell casings for a .380 caliber firearm were located outside the residence,” the release stated.

Officers recovered a total of three firearms from the home, including an AR-15 assault weapon that contained two 32-round magazines taped together on the couch in the living room, according to the release. Police say they also recovered paperwork identifying Pegues from one of the bedrooms in the house.

“The bedroom identified as belonging to Pegues contained the .380 caliber handgun and a set of digital scales. The gun was reported stolen,” the release stated.

Pegues was arrested on Aug. 28.

Police say he declined to provide any information that day, but did offer a statement on the following day.

Pegues “admitted shooting at a vehicle in self-defense after seeing a vehicle drive by slowly and a known individual raise what appeared to be a firearm,” prosecutors said in the release. “Thereafter, Pegues went inside to retrieve the AR-15 and returned to the porch. Pegues denied any involvement with the marijuana found inside the residence.”

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Since 2017 the United States Department of Justice has reinvigorated the PSN program and has targeted violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

That effort has been implemented through the Take Back North Carolina Initiative of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina. This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and district attorney’s offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking and crimes against law enforcement.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant United States Attorney Daniel W. Smith prosecuted the case for the government.

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