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BEAUFORT  – District Attorney Scott Thomas announced that, in Carteret County Superior Court yesterday, JUSTIN RYAN MIRANDA, 26, of Newport, pled guilty to a number of opioid theft and possession charges, and was sentenced to a lengthy prison term. The cases were prosecuted in court by Assistant District Attorney Ashley Eatmon, and Senior Resident Superior Court Judge John Nobles presided over this session of court.

On December 19, 2017, the Express Care Pharmacy, located at 708 Highway 70 East, Otway, was broken into. The front door was smashed and approximately $124,000 in medications stolen. Items stolen included Morphine, Oxycodone, Adderall, amphetamines, Fentanyl, Hydromorphone, and many other prescription medications.

Detectives with the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office were able to develop quick leads and recovered a portion of the stolen medications at Miranda’s residence after executing a search warrant. The search revealed that the stolen pills had already been repackaged in clear plastic bags before they were intercepted by Officers during the search, indicating Miranda’s intent to sell the prescription drugs on the street.


Miranda pled guilty to one count of Trafficking Opium or Heroin, and was sentenced to a minimum of 90 months and a maximum of 120 months in the Department of Corrections. Miranda also pled guilty to two counts of Attempted Trafficking Opium or Heroin, and was sentenced to 23-40 months on each. All sentences are to run consecutively for a total of 136 to 200 months (approximately 11 to 16 years) in the Department of Corrections. Judge Nobles also ordered Miranda to pay a mandatory fine of $100,000.

NOTE: Under North Carolina Structured Sentencing law, a convicted criminal defendant must serve all of the minimum active sentence and may be required to serve up to the maximum sentence. Upon release at the conclusion of the prison sentence, a nine to twelve month period of post-release supervision by a probation officer is required.