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Ex-Gates deputy facing fed charges

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By William F, West
Staff Writer

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

GATESVILLE — A former deputy sheriff accused of stealing guns and illegal drugs from the Gates County Sheriff’s Office has been indicted on federal criminal charges.

Brandon Scott Hawks, 33, of Eure, was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of possession of a stolen firearm and one count of possession with the intent to distribute a quantity of controlled substances, U.S. Attorney's spokesman Don Connelly said in a news release Monday.

The grand jury charged Hawks with possession of a handgun unlawfully seized during a traffic stop on July 23, 2017, Connelly said. The firearm was never turned over as evidence to the Gates Sheriff's Office. It instead was discovered at Hawks' residence, Connelly said.

The grand jury also indicted Hawks, a former sergeant with the Gates Sheriff’s Office, with possession of another firearm stolen from the office, Connelly said.

Hawks was also indicted on charges of possession with intent to distribute several controlled substances, including heroin, crack cocaine, cocaine, fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine, methamphetamine and marijuana, Connelly said.

The controlled substances were seized by the Gates Sheriff’s Office during criminal investigations and considered the property of the sheriff’s office, Connelly said.

Each of the firearm offenses carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, while the illegal drug offense carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, Connelly said.

According to Connelly, Hawks had been a Gates deputy since 2006 and was promoted to sergeant last year. Connelly said Hawks was fired on Dec. 6.

An official with the U.S. Attorney's Office said Hawks remained in federal custody on Monday awaiting a detention hearing, which is set for 2 p.m. Thursday in Greenville.

Hawks’ arrest came as part of the “Take Back North Carolina Initiative” recently implemented by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Hawks already was facing state charges in connection with allegations of corruption in the Gates Sheriff's Office. Hawks was arrested in December on six counts of embezzlement of property by public officer and one count of obstruction of justice.

Also facing charges as a result of an State Bureau of Investigation probe of the Gates Sheriff’s Office is the former interim sheriff, Randy Hathaway, and three other officials: Capt. Glenda Parker, Deputy Levar Newsome and Deputy Tobe Ruffin. Hathaway was charged with obtaining property by false pretenses, failure to discharge his sheriff’s duties and one count of obstruction of justice. The other three were charged with obtaining property by false pretenses.

Hathaway was removed as Gates sheriff after District Attorney Andrew Womble successfully petitioned a judge for his removal. Hathaway’s successor, Deputy Robert Jordan, then suspended the three other officials. Womble also petitioned the judge to appoint Jordan as interim sheriff.

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