To hear the federal and state authorities tell it, there’s a silent war going on between law enforcement and the criminal element in North Carolina, and the authorities are determined to win it.

The Take Back North Carolina Initiative was launched in April 2018 as a cooperative effort between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. The operation was begun in response to concerns over rising drug addiction rates and organized criminal activity, particularly in the eastern part of the state.

The message coming from the authorities is pretty clear. “You are next. We will come for you,” was the quote from Robert Higdon, the U.S. attorney for North Carolina’s Eastern District. Indeed, since the initiative was launched, more than 1,000 people have been arrested for numerous serious offenses — and many have already been convicted and sentenced.

Investigations and prosecutions are both very aggressive and focused. Who is being targeted by members of the initiative? Anybody who has a felony conviction on their record could be in the operation’s crosshairs, along with anybody who:

  • Is a member of a gang, particularly the Crips or the Bloods
  • Is trafficking or selling drugs
  • Robs a bank or convenience store
  • Is involved in illegal interstate commerce

Because these cases are largely being prosecuted under federal law, the defendants who are convicted are likely to face extended prison sentences. That’s intentional, as the authorities are trying to send a message that will deter others from committing such crimes.

Now more than ever, it’s essential to have an experienced criminal lawyer on your side. If you are arrested and charged with drug trafficking in North Carolina, make no mistake: The situation is serious.