Career offender gets 25 years in prison for drug crimes

Career offender gets 25 years in prison for drug crimes
Covia Dzell Smith (Source: Brunswick County Sheriff's Office)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - A gang member from Shallotte was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison for drug distribution.

According to a news release, Covia Dzell Smith, 46, was convicted by a federal jury in January on three counts — distribution of marijuana and two counts of distribution of cocaine.

Based on information that Smith was a drug supplier and gang leader in Brunswick County, agents began investigating him in 2017.

A witness said Smith had distributed heroin and cocaine and that Smith was a high-ranking member of the 9 Trey Billy set of the Bloods street gang.

Another witness testified that he had regularly purchased cocaine from Smith in 2017, that Smith always carried a firearm and confirmed that Smith was a member of the Bloods.

A third witness said in July 2015 he saw Smith kill a man after an altercation at a club in South Carolina. The witness said he saw Smith fire a handgun into the victim's chest four times at close range, killing him.

In June 2017, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agent purchased 3.28 grams of cocaine from Smith and a cooperating witness bought 7.12 grams of cocaine from Smith later that month.

At trial, a cooperating witness testified that Smith admitted to selling cocaine to an undercover officer after Smith was arrested on those charges and held at the Brunswick County Jail.

While jailed, Smith also told another Bloods member that the agent would be "dog food" — a common Bloods term meaning Smith meant to harm or kill the agent — according to the witness.

Because of his criminal record, including prior drug trafficking convictions, Smith was determined to be a career offender.

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