LELAND, N.C. (WECT) – 44-year-old Benne Lee James of Leland was sentenced on Friday, July 29, to 25 years in prison for several drug possession and dealing charges.
James was found guilty on February 17 for possession and distribution of one kilogram or more of heroin, forty grams or more of fentanyl, and an unspecified quantity of cocaine, as well as five counts of distributing heroin and fentanyl.
James was reportedly selling heroin laced with fentanyl in Leland at least five separate times from May to August of 2018. According to the FBI, they learned James had trafficked more than sixteen kilograms of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl from New York around November of 2016 through August of 2018.
Along with his co-defendant Alexander Mootoo, James bought large amounts of heroin and fentanyl in New York, and then used a courier to bring the drugs on commercial buses to New Hanover and Brunswick county. He would then use several properties to store the drugs until they were packaged for sale, maintaining a network of at least 11 individuals to sell heroin for him.
Mootoo was sentenced earlier in March to 38 months in prison for his role in the trafficking.
“Working together with law enforcement, we are working to investigate and prosecute those that are bringing illegal drugs into our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “This defendant will trade his time dealing drugs for time behind bars.”
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