Feds: Fayetteville man guilty of gun crimes planned to prostitute woman for gambling loss

Cumberland County News
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A Fayetteville man who planned to prostitute his girlfriend to offset his gambling losses was sentenced Tuesday for two firearm violations last year, the federal officials said.

In May, Joseph Luther Lewis, 29, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a stolen firearm.

He was sentenced to 12.8 years of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release, according to a news release from the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

The firearm charges stemmed from an incident on June 25, 2017, when Lewis’ girlfriend told officials she was being blamed by Lewis for his gambling loss.

“She stated Lewis lost $1,000 gambling, and for some inexplicable reason, Lewis blamed her,” the news release said. “Lewis, armed with a handgun, traveled from Fayetteville to Robeson County and forcibly abducted her, and took her to a vacant house in Fayetteville, where Lewis planned to prostitute her to recoup his money.”

Before arriving at the vacant house, the girlfriend jumped from the moving car, but Lewis forced her back inside at gunpoint, officials say.

“Lewis kicked and punched her in the face several times,” the news release said. “When (police) arrived at the vacant residence, her face was visibly swollen. She had a chipped tooth and scrapes on her nose and mouth, as well as abrasions to her feet, legs, and arms.”

Police eventually responded to what was reported by the girlfriend as a domestic violence call.  As police arrived, the girlfriend saw Lewis throw his gun into woods nearby.

“Lewis’ firearm, a stolen 9 mm handgun, was subsequently located in the woods where she observed him discard it,” officials said.

Authorities say that earlier in the day, Lewis was in a gunfight with “another drug dealer” in Fayetteville. Lewis’ car had “multiple gunshot holes in the rear and front,” the news release said.

After serving his prison time, Lewis will have three years of supervised release.

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