A Wilkes County man has been sentenced in a federal case involving drug trafficking in counties including Caldwell and Wilkes. 40-year-old Roger Mack Royal of North Wilkesboro was sentenced to 188 months in prison for drug and gun charges. The announcement was made last week by Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. The information was released Monday (October 19). U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell also ordered Royal to serve five years under court supervision after he is released from prison.
According to filed court documents and information revealed in the sentencing hearing, in January 2019, Royal, his co-conspirator April Renee Hicks of Wilkesboro, and another defendant, Joshua Allen McCloud of Lenoir, trafficked methamphetamine in Caldwell and Wilkes counties and elsewhere in western North Carolina. Law enforcement arrested Royal and Hicks on January 29, 2019, following a drug transaction that took place in a Walmart parking lot. Over the course of their arrest, law enforcement recovered a stolen firearm from Royal’s vehicle.
On May 19, 2020, Royal pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, four counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine, and possession of a firearm by a felon. Court records indicate that Royal has over 40 state felony convictions in North and South Carolina. Due to his prior criminal convictions, Royal qualified for a sentencing enhancement as an armed career criminal.
Joshua McCloud was previously sentenced to eleven years in prison for drug and firearm offenses. Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement recovered from McCloud’s residence two firearms, a 60-round drum magazine, 39 rounds of assorted ammunition, narcotics and drug paraphernalia. April Hicks was sentenced to 57 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine.
Agencies involved in the investigation include the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office, the Boone Police Department, and the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office.