WILMINGTON — A federal grand jury has returned indictments against a Sampson County man in a carjacking and vehicle pursuit on Interstate 95 that also allegedly involved drug trafficking. He is facing at least 55 years in prison if convicted.
The indictments against Raymond Lee Bryant Jr., 44, of Dunn Road, Roseboro, stem from a crazy sequence on I-95 in Harnett County earlier this month for which charges were brought. Bryant is facing federal charges of carjacking, carrying and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to the carjacking, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
If convicted of these charges, Bryant would face a statutory minimum of 55 years imprisonment and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Robert J. Higdon Jr. said in a release.
According to law enforcement, Bryant is alleged to have committed multiple carjackings May 3 on I-95 in Dunn. Bryant is alleged to have approached a tractor-trailer, forcing the driver and passenger out of the truck at gunpoint after firing a round and then attempting to drive the truck away.
As Bryant was backing up the truck, it jack-knifed and blocked the northbound lanes of I-95. According to reports, he exited the truck and attempted to carjack another tractor-trailer, however the driver of that truck exited the vehicle as he saw Bryant approach, locked the door and ran. Bryant then approached a third truck, brandished a firearm and carjacked that truck after two occupants fled the vehicle.
Bryant sped from Harnett County in the truck, heading north on Interstate 95. The chase ultimately ended about 50 miles later in Nash County, where he was taken into custody by N.C. Highway Patrol troopers in Nash County.
According to reports, the incident began after 4 p.m. May 3 when Bryant was driving a Ford Ranger in the shoulder of the road on I-95. He lost control and traveled across the northbound lanes of I-95, striking another car. At that point, Bryant reportedly got out of his truck and fired a shotgun blast into the driver-side window of a tractor-trailer that had stopped because of the wreck. That is when the alleged carjackings occurred.
Bryant was initially charged with driving while impaired, felony speed to elude, resisting a public official, failure to heed to blue lights/siren, improper passing, possession of a stolen firearm, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Officials also seized 11 ounces of marijuana from Bryant’s Ford Ranger.
Higdon said the case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve in an effort to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
In support of PSN, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of NC implemented the Take Back North Carolina Initiative, stressing regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis to reduce violent crimes, drug trafficking and crimes against law enforcement.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the N.C. Highway Patrol and the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office has investigated the Bryant case.
Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.