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Wilmington man involved in chase that killed cop sentenced

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A drug dealer involved in the chase that led to the death of a Wilmington Police officer will spend 20 years in federal prison.

A judge in Raleigh sentenced Eric Grant Smith, 28, of Wilmington earlier this week. Smith pleaded guilty in January to possession with the intent to distribute more than 50 kilograms of marijuana.

In February 2009, investigators say Smith was a passenger in a car that led Wilmington Police on a chase. Wilmington Police Officer Rich Matthews died when he lost control of his cruiser while responding to a call for assistance.

"Eric Smith broke the law, and due to his actions, we lost a great police officer. This outcome will provide some sense of closure for the men and women of the Wilmington Police Department," Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said in a statement. "Justice has been served."

Prosecutors say Smith was a leader of a drug trafficking organization that was importing high quality marijuana in bulk amounts from Canada through New York to be distributed in various locations throughout North Carolina. They say Smith was responsible for distributing more than 400 kilograms of marijuana following his release from federal prison in 2007 until February, 2009. The marijuana was transported in hockey bags in the amounts of 20 and 40 kilograms.

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"Smith pleaded guilty in

"Smith pleaded guilty in January to possession with the intent to distribute more than 50 kilograms of marijuana."

READ the story and you will see that this is what he was charged with. Not the officers death. Wow.

What about the Driver?

The story says "investigators say Smith was a passenger in a car that led Wilmington Police on a chase."
I remember the original event...but
Was the WPD only charging this guy for the death?
He wasn't driving the car.
Where is "The Rest Of The Story" WWAY ?

which public did you ask Mr Prosecutor Walker

thats a lie because No One asked me 'the public' if this Walker eastern district prosecutor has my permission to spend my jail taxmoney for the next 20 years ((TWENTY YEARS))on a dopeweed dealer from new york the same week the crack-cocaine-cartel is shooting people in the gulf just south of here.
" Officials said the lengthy sentence reflected the seriousness of Smith's crimes. "The defendant's drug trafficking activities were bad enough. But his complete disregard for the safety of law enforcement and the public certainly supports the sentence imposed by the court," said Thomas Walker, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

The guy was a PASSENGER, not

The guy was a PASSENGER, not the DRIVER. He had no control over the vehicle or of the officer who let his cruiser get away from him. This man was railroaded. Hope he appeals and wins.

Appeal what?

Did you bother to read the article? He pleaded to the drug charge and was sentenced to the drug charge. "A judge in Raleigh sentenced Eric Grant Smith, 28, of Wilmington earlier this week. Smith pleaded guilty in January to possession with the intent to distribute more than 50 kilograms of marijuana."

What part of this are you unable to understand?

not

He shouldn't have been in the car.

i agree with the first 2

i agree with the first 2 comments. If anything charge him for the drugs, not the death. last time I checked, a PASSENGER does not drive the car. THey are at the mercy of the driver, so for him to be tried and charged as if he sent the police on a chase, definitely shows a flaw in our justice system. my condolences to the family of the fallen officer, but was justice really served???

READ the article. He pled

READ the article. He pled guilty to the DRUG CHARGE, not to anything about the officer's death.

Had this man not broken the

Had this man not broken the law, then Officer Matthews would not have been responding to the call and would not have crashed his car that night.

I agree

While he is a criminal, he is not responsible for the unsafe choices made by the responding officer. The officer did not drive with due regard for himself or others, and this man had no control over that.

I

hate to see an officer loose his life...but the officer lost his life because of his unsafe driving while responding to a crime...what if an officer gets in a wreck and dies responding to a car wreck...is it the peoples fault in the wreck the officer died...of course not!

Read the laws of NC

You can be charged with the death of another party if the death occured while in the commission of committing a felony. 50kg of Marijuana was a felony!

Guest7969, you are a heartless soul. When you call 911, I bet you hope the cops come as fast as they can to save your @ss. Thats what Officer Matthews was doing.

Re: Interesting to say the least

Where are the racially motivated comments that would normally be present had this gentlemen been black? Similar to the super insensitive and unnecessary comments present in the Brian Grant article. “Oh, we're not surprised”. “Oh, the neighborhood is so bad”. “Oh, the thug was useless anyway”. As if you were directly affected by his death. Although I have never met Brian, I know his family. Brian was a hard working father and son who just happened to live in a not so affluent neighborhood. My family and I also live in a not so affluent neighborhood, but does that minute factor make our lives any less important? My husband and I recently celebrated 18 years of marriage, last year he received his master's degree, and currently I'm working on my master's degree in Educational Technology. Our oldest son is starting college in a few weeks and our daughter is a rising senior (honors student). If something happens to either of us, I guess since we're black and live in an older neighborhood we can expect a barrage of insensitive and negative comments as well. Thanks Wilmington!