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Clayton man sentenced on federal gun charges

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RALEIGH — A Clayton man will serve 10 years behind bars on federal firearm charges linked to drug trafficking, prosecutors announced last week.

Chief U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced 35-year-old Christopher Edward Reaves in a Raleigh courtroom on Friday. Reaves will be subject to five years of supervised release.

Reaves pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime on July 11, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Authorities had twice arrested Reaves after he was found passed out inside vehicles while under the influence of drugs, prosecutors said in a news release.

Johnston County sheriff’s deputies responded to a suspicious vehicle call at a Clayton home on Jan. 6 and found Reaves asleep in a car. After observing drugs in plain view, deputies searched the vehicle and seized cocaine, heroin, suboxone, drug paraphernalia and a .25-caliber handgun.

“Subsequent to Reaves’ arrest, he provided an unprotected statement acknowledging that he was a drug addict,” a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release states. “Deputies attempted to question Reaves about the firearm. However, he had fallen asleep.”

Clayton police officers arrested Reaves on Feb. 24 after finding him passed out in the driver’s seat of a truck with the brake depressed. Prosecutors say a 9mm handgun fell to the ground when officers opened the door to get him out of the truck. Police found marijuana, suboxone, drug paraphernalia and cash in the vehicle.

The federal charges stem from the two handguns found in Reaves’ possession. Prosecutors say Reaves “submitted a written statement accepting responsibility for his involvement in these crimes” on July 18.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted Clayton police and Johnston County deputies in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel W. Smith prosecuted Reaves.