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Former sheriff faces federal firearms charge

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By Sam Hickman

Former Brunswick County Sheriff Ronald Hewett had an initial appearance in federal court in Wilmington on Thursday, July 10, to face a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon.
According to an affidavit in a criminal complaint, multiple firearms were found at Hewett’s Supply residence Wednesday, July 9. The number and type of firearms seized from the residence weren’t given.

Brunswick County sheriff’s deputies took Hewett into custody about 2 p.m. Wednesday, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Emily Flax said. He is being held as a federal detainee at the Brunswick County Detention Facility.

If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release, according to a news release issued Thursday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The actual sentence would be determined by the sentencing court after consideration of the advisory sentencing guidelines.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Wells will prosecute the case, which was investigated by the sheriff’s office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.

Hewett, 51, served a year of a 16-month sentence for obstruction of justice in federal prison before he was released in 2010.

Hewett pleaded guilty in federal court June 2, 2008, to a count of obstructing justice. His sentence, handed down Oct. 6, 2008, included a $10,000 fine and two years of probation. The charge stemmed from an investigation that began in 2006 into whether Hewett was ordering deputies on duty to perform labor on his house and land and work on re-election campaigns.

Hewett also was convicted in October 2008 in state court on three counts of embezzlement.