Russell Monroe Dunn Jr.

Russell Monroe Dunn Jr.

ASHEVILLE — A man who was arrested at a Morganton hotel in April will spend 15 years in federal prison.

Russell Monroe Dunn Jr., 25, of Lenoir, has been sentenced to 188 months in prison and five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray announced the federal prosecution Tuesday stemming from the Western District’s Project Safe Neighborhoods program.

In April, Morganton Department of Public Safety arrested Dunn after responding to a service call at the Comfort Inn, located at 1273 Burkemont Ave., Morganton, after a report of a strong odor of marijuana coming from a hotel room, according to previous News Herald story.

When narcotics investigator s arrived, the smell of marijuana was in the hallway. After knocking on the door of the hotel room, Dunn answered the door, the story said.

Law enforcement recovered five firearms, ammunition, body armor, two kilograms of methamphetamine, and more than $18,800 in cash from Dunn’s hotel room. Dunn has 17 prior felony convictions, including a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon on a government official; fleeing to elude arrest; possession with intent to sell a controlled substance; and breaking and entering a place of worship, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney Murray’s office.

Court records show that Dunn’s mother and co-defendant, Carol Dunn, also was a member of the drug trafficking ring. Carol Dunn has pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge and is currently awaiting sentencing, according to the release.

“Project Safe Neighborhoods is more than an effective initiative to reduce violent crime and increase gun prosecutions, it is my promise to all citizens of Western North Carolina that my Office will use every available means to make our streets and communities safer , Murray said .

Project Safe Neighborhoods is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts, the release said. It is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime, it said.

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