Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Loaded Glock found in Azalea bush secures conviction

A federal jury found Desmond Antonio “Head” Hines guilty of illegal possession of a firearm as a felon after he ditched a handgun in an Azalea bush. (Courtesy U.S. Department of Justice)

WILMINGTON — Azalea bushes held the key evidence needed to assist in the arrest of a career offender.

On June 28, U.S. Attorney Michael Easley Jr. announced the conviction of Desmond Antonio Hines, 35, also known as “Head,” for illegally possessing a firearm as a felon.

This conviction stems from an arrest made in March 2022, when Hines was found with the gun while under police surveillance for a pending federal drug case. The drug case originated from a 2020 arrest during which Hines was caught with 10 oxycodone pills and 17 grams of crack cocaine, and he also attempted to flee from the police.

During surveillance, Hines discarded a loaded semiautomatic Glock 27 handgun with an extended magazine into an azalea bush. Law enforcement was alerted to the gun when area residents called 911 after observing a man matching Hines’ description driving a minivan. They reported seeing him stop the vehicle, walk over to a cluster of azalea bushes, and throw something into the foliage before driving away. Upon inspecting the bushes, the witnesses found a firearm.

Police responded to the scene and retrieved the firearm, discovering that the 10 bullets in the gun matched the 10 bullets missing from Hines’ residence. Subsequent DNA testing on the gun confirmed it belonged to Hines.

“I personally tried this case because this defendant, who went by the alias ‘Head,’ made crime his life’s work,” Easley said in a press release from the Department of Justice.

Hines, now 35, is considered a career offender, with arrests dating back to when he was 18. One of his earliest arrests was in 2007, when he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, hit and run, and several drug offenses, including possession of cocaine with intent to sell.

With his most recent arrest, he is facing up to 15 years in prison for the firearm possession charge and up to 30 years for his recent drug charges. Both cases will be brought forward for sentencing later this year.

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