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Knightdale man sentenced for having a gun

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NEW BERN — A Knightdale man formerly convicted of a felony was sentenced Wednesday to 70 months in prison having a gun, the Department of Justice said.

Naeem Branch, 39, of Knightdale was arrested March 22, 2018, by N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement agents.

A press release said the agents believed they had witnessed a drug deal between branch and two other men that day outside the Pit Stop II on Capital Boulevard in Raleigh.

The agents pulled over Branch’s vehicle and noticed digital scales in the car. After searching the car, the agents found a Ruger SR-9 9-millimeter handgun, loaded with 16 rounds of ball ammunition under the driver’s seat.

Branch could not legally have a gun or ammunition because of previous felony convictions, including a 2015 conviction for possession of a firearm by a felon and a 2016 conviction for possession of cocaine.

N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case.