Ex-deputy sentenced to 48 months for gun theft in Gates


By Chris Day
Multimedia Editor

Friday, August 23, 2019

GATES — A former Gates County sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to 48 months in federal prison for charges involving stolen firearms.

Brandon Scott Hawks, 35, of Ayden, was sentenced to 48 months imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised probation, according to a news release from the office of Robert J. Higdon Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan’s ruling earlier this month follows Hawks’ guilty plea on Feb. 12 to two counts of possession of a stolen firearm, the release states.

Hawks was the subject of an investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation between 2014 and 2017. In that time investigators discovered that Hawks stole guns and drugs from traffic stops while he worked as a sergeant with the Gates County Sheriff’s Office, the release states.

Hawks also stole or mishandled different types and amounts of illegal drugs, to include heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, among other substances, the release states.

According to the release, many of the drugs were discovered either in Hawks’ patrol car or at his home.

“There is nothing more discouraging or disruptive to the proper enforcement of the law than an officer who violates the public trust by engaging in criminal conduct,” Higdon stated in the news release. “But, that is just what Brandon Scott Hawks did; and his sentence reflects the seriousness of his crime.

“Fortunately, however, the vast majority of our officers understand and honor their commitment to abide by the law themselves,” the release continues. “And our prosecution of law enforcement officers who fail to do so serves to preserve the reputation of all the others and to strengthen the public’s confidence in our law enforcement system.”

In May 2018, Hawks, whose residence at the time was Eure, was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of possession of a stolen firearm and one count of possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said at the time.

According to the spokesman, Hawks had been a Gates County deputy since 2006 and was promoted to sergeant in 2017. The spokesman said Hawks was later fired that year in December.

A grand jury charged Hawks with possession of a handgun unlawfully seized during a traffic stop on July 23, 2017, the spokesman said. The gun was never submitted as evidence to the Gates Sheriff’s Office. Instead, it was later discovered at Hawks’ home, the spokesman said.

The grand jury also indicted Hawks for possession of another firearm stolen from the sheriff’s office, the spokesman said.

An online inmate search Thursday listed Brandon Scott Hawks, 35, in custody at the Pamlico County Detention Center, as of June 16.