‘Armed career criminal’ sentenced to 15 years for drug trafficking and firearm offenses in Cabarrus County

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CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – A Kannapolis man with a lengthy criminal history has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for distribution of fentanyl and possession of a firearm by a felon, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina.

According to court documents, the Kannapolis Police Department received information from a confidential source that Martin William Luther Hamilton, 38, was storing narcotics and firearms at his apartment at the Vibe at Kellswater Apartment Homes in Kannapolis.

In February 2020, investigators conducted surveillance and a trash pull from Hamilton’s apartment complex after watching him throw away two trash bags from his truck into a public trash compactor. Contents of the bags later tested positive for traces of cocaine, prompting investigators to obtain search warrants for Hamilton’s truck and apartment.

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On February 13, 2020, investigators executed the search warrants. A search of the apartment yielded large quantities of suspected heroin, suspected crack cocaine, and suspected cocaine hydrochloride, as well as a small amount of marihuana, numerous prescription pills, and supplies commonly used in the manufacturing of crack cocaine, police said.

A large amount of U.S. currency and a Glock .40 caliber firearm were also found in the apartment, police said. The suspected heroin and cocaine were sent to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Laboratories and Scientific Services Directorate in Savannah, Georgia, which later confirmed that various quantities of the substances contained fentanyl, cocaine, cocaine base, benzocaine, and cocaine hydrochloride.

Hamilton was charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base, one count of possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and one count of felon in possession of a firearm. On November 11, 2020, Hamilton pled guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and one count of felon in possession of a firearm.


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Hamilton was a convicted felon at the time of these offenses, having been convicted of accessory after the fact to second-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, discharging a weapon into an occupied dwelling or moving vehicle, common law robbery, second-degree kidnapping, and attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon in 2011 in the Superior Court of Cabarrus County. Accordingly, at sentencing, the court determined that Hamilton was an ‘armed career criminal.’

In addition to the term of imprisonment, United States District Judge Loretta C. Biggs ordered Hamilton to serve five years of supervised release and to pay a $200 special assessment to the United States.

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