LUMBERTON — All seven members of an alleged drug trafficking organization led by Tuscarora Clan Chief Mitchell Locklear were refused bond by a federal magistrate on Friday.
The bond denial came soon after Brandon Locklear was arrested and taken to Wilmington to appear before a magistrate.
Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Robeson County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested six men and sized 68 firearms on Thursday, according to the federal Department of Justice. Thursday’s actions were put into motion when a seizure of marijuana in 2015 pointed lawmen in Locklear’s direction.
Locklear, 54; his son, Christopher Locklear, 34; Timmy Lloyd Hunt, 42; Torrey Locklear, 37; Kevin Dwayne Revels, 35; Brandon Locklear; all of Maxton, and 30-year-old Kevin Clark, of Rowland, were each charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine. Torrey Locklear and Clark also were each charged with oxycodone distribution, and Revels also was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The seven will remain in custody until a formal detention hearing and arraignment, set for 10 a.m. March 27 in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, is held. All seven have been appointed federal public defenders. The Robesonian so far has been unable to get photographs of the men, but will publish when that happens.
Court documents offer a detailed picture of how the organization operated. Intercepted phone conversations as recent as the second week of March are detailed in the affidavit of an FBI drug-trafficking specialist, Special Agent David A. Smith.
The FBI investigation formally began in March 2016 when agents met with two informants who had knowledge of Mitchell Locklear’s operation, according to court documents. However, the roots of the investigation began in May 2015 when the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Homeland Security arrested four people as they attempted to bring 879 kilograms of marijuana — just shy of a ton — into Robeson County, Smith’s affidavit reads.
“Debriefings conducted by Homeland Security investigations agents revealed that the marijuana was intended for Mitchell’s drug trafficking organization,” the affidavit reads.
One of those arrested attempting to deliver the marijuana had Mitchell Locklear’s phone number listed as “Black Mitchell.” Phone records, according to the FBI, showed 42 contacts between one of the defendants and Mitchell Locklear, including two on the date the narcotics were scheduled to be delivered. “Black Mitchell” is given as a pseudonym for Mitchell Locklear in court documents.
Documents outline numerous drug deals made by the defendants from spring 2016 through February. Christopher and Mitchell Locklear are heard setting up sales of kilograms of cocaine and kilograms of marijuana from both of their home.
Throughout the court documents and affidavits, Mitchell Locklear is referred to as the head of the organization. Intercepted phone calls show others in the gang calling him to get cocaine or marijuana. Below him in the organizational chart are Brandon Locklear, Christopher Locklear and Torrey Locklear, whom FBI affidavits state are distributors of cocaine and marijuana to a network of smaller dealers.
Callers to Mitchell Locklear use what the FBI believe is a simplistic code when narcotics are discussed. A number is an amount of cocaine or marijuana and the term “paper” refers to money, according to an affidavit.
“I got one; I can probably get two or three more,” Brandon Locklear said.
“I gave him paper for four,” Mitchell Locklear said during a phone conversation.
Higher numbers can be prices.
“See if you can get ‘em. What’s the number going for?”
“Thirty-four,” Mitchell Locklear said, explaining that the price for a kilogram of cocaine was $34,000, according to FBI affidavits.
Brandon Locklear and Hunt had calls intercepted in February 2017 during which they complain that their underlings cannot sell cocaine as they are primarily marijuana dealers.
“My other boy won’t take it … I’ve been trying to do what I can, but they won’t take it,” Brandon is alleged to have told Hunt, describing one dealer as “slow as syrup.”
Reach Mike Gellatly at 910-816-1989 or via Twitter @MikeGellatly