Jacksonville drug trafficker sent to prison

JACKSONVILLE, NC (WITN) A drug trafficker responsible for a decades-long cocaine operation here in the east has been sentenced to 30-years in prison.

Anthony Smith, who went by the name of "Straight", was taken off the streets of Jacksonville in 2017, after investigators made more than a dozen purchases of crack cocaine from Smith's dealers.

Following a two-day trial in federal court, Smith was sentenced to 30-years in prison Tuesday.

Investigators said Smith had several people working with him completing drug deals in Jacksonville's New River area.

U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon says, "This marks the end of a very active drug trafficking organization which had victimized the New River neighborhood in Jacksonville and essentially had an open drug market in that neighborhood."

Nine other people connected to Smith have been sent to prison. Eight are from Jacksonville, and one from New Bern.

Other evidence against Smith was that he had deposited $118,000 into a bank account, and the source of that money could not be traced back to anything other than drug deals.

The investigation was part of the Take Back North Carolina initiative, working to reduce violent crimes statewide.