Bush sentenced to 20 years

Published 9:50 am Thursday, March 5, 2009

NEW BERN – A Conway man was sentenced to 20 years in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release in federal court here last month.

Ashonta Bush, 34, was sentenced by Chief United States District Judge Louis W. Flanagan following his pleading guilty to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base (crack) and 500 grams or more of cocaine.

Bush was originally arrested by Hertford County Deputy William Stroud during a traffic stop on August 1, 2007. Bush, whose driver’s license was revoked, was operating a motor vehicle when Stroud stopped him.

As the deputy was running a license check, he saw Bush reach into the rear seat and then run from the car into a nearby wooded area carrying several plastic bags. Stroud pursued him and saw him reach under an abandoned car.

After apprehending the suspect, Deputy Stroud called for backup. When those officers arrived, several plastic bags containing 30.4 grams of crack, 111.5 grams of cocaine, baking soda, plastic bags and scales were found.

Inside Bush’s vehicle, officers found $56,000 in a plastic bag similar to those found underneath the vehicle.

United States Attorney George E.B. Holding said, “The evidence against Mr. Bush established that from 2005 to 2008, Mr. Bush was responsible for the distribution of kilogram-quantities of cocaine and cocaine base. Thus, this case has disrupted an important drug distribution outlet in Hertford County.”

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney J. Frank Bradsher served as prosecutor for the government.

Captain Raymond Eure of the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office, who heads up the narcotics division, said the arrest was major for the Roanoke-Chowan region.

“We learned that Bush was a major supplier of crack and powder cocaine to Hertford, Northampton, Bertie and surrounding areas,” Eure said.

For his part, Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan said he was pleased Bush was off the street.

“Any time you get another supplier, as we found out he was according to the investigation, off the streets it is a good thing,” the sheriff said. “We are going to continue our efforts to make sure those who are trying to distribute drugs in our county and in our region meet this same fate.”