News Release
May 9, 2008
Contact: Chuvalo Truesdell

Durham Man Receives More Than 21 Years in Prison for Drug Distribution

MAY 9 -- (New Bern, NC) - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court, on May 7, 2008, Chief United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced Lee Anthony BRAGGS, 39, of Durham, North Carolina, to 254 months imprisonment and five years of supervised release following his term of confinement.

On June 18, 2007, BRAGGS pleaded guilty to Count One of the Indictment, which charged him with conspiring with others to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846.

The defendant is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Operation (OCDETF) investigation entitled “Operation Monarch.” The investigation found that BRAGGS was the leader of an organization that was responsible for distributing over 700 kilograms of cocaine from Atlanta, Georgia, to the Wilmington, North Carolina, area. Drug Enforcement Administration agents utilized a Title III wiretap in the investigation. During the Title III investigation, agents intercepted coded conversations indicating cocaine would be delivered to x-Slave Fashions, a clothing store located in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division stated, "This investigation revealed that members of this organization were distributing quantities of cocaine and crack in the Wilmington, North Carolina area. These substances clearly destroy lives. Because of the dedicated efforts of our federal state and local law enforcement counterparts, the streets of Wilmington are a much safer place today."

“The significant amount of prison time Mr. Braggs received correctly reflects the significant amount of cocaine distribution that Mr. Braggs oversaw as head of the drug ring. Lengthy sentences such as this, remove these dangerous criminals from our communities and send a clear message to the people involved in the illegal distribution of drugs: We will continue to prosecute these crimes and continue to ask for significant prison time,” stated George Holding.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the Wilmington Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Michael G. James and Special Assistant United States Attorney Timothy Severo are the assigned prosecutors. Mr. Severo is a prosecutor with the New Hanover District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney Ben David has assigned him to the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute OCDETF criminal matters. This was made possible by a grant funded by the Governor’s Crime Commission and the New Hanover County Commissioner’s Office.

SAC Benson encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive website at