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North Carolina arrests may be converted to federal drug charges

Sometimes a group of state charges with federal jurisdictional implications will be 'adopted' by federal authorities and taken forward by way of a federal indictment. That's probably bad news for a North Carolina man who is now in state custody on a number of pharmacy drug robberies that occurred in North Carolina and a neighboring state. When the allegations are turned into federal drug charges, he'll likely face a much more substantial sentence under the onerous federal sentencing guidelines.

One of the alleged crimes that the suspect is charged with is a July 2 drug robbery from a CVS in a neighboring state. The police in that town arrested an innocent man on robbery charges and freed him a few days ago. He had been wrongly incarcerated for 29 days and held on a draconian $500,000 bond for the one incident. 

The current suspect is a Taylorsville man who was arrested on Aug. 6 by North Carolina authorities in Hickory on warrants from a similar robbery in Greenville. He's charged with two counts of robbery with firearms or dangerous weapons, two drug trafficking charges and as a fugitive from another state. It may be a while before he goes back to South Carolina, however, to face the charges there. With multi-state, multi-pharmacy robberies involving drugs, the Drug Enforcement Administration has apparently indicated to state authorities that it will take over the prosecution through initiation of federal charges.

If the federal authorities act while the man is still in custody in North Carolina, it's likely that the charges from Rock Hill will simply be rolled into the federal drug charges. Although North Carolina state courts have considerable discretion in sentencing, the accused man's future under a prosecution for federal crime is likely more bleak. That's because the federal sentencing guidelines, although supposedly advisory only, have been responsible for a pattern of unusually harsh drug sentences for several decades that federal judges still stick to fairly scrupulously.

Source: wrhi.com, "N.C. man in custody in connection with July 2 robbery of Rock Hill CVS," Andrew Kiel, Aug. 7, 2013

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