WILMINGTON, N.C. – A Rocky Mount man was sentenced Thursday to 168 months in prison for armed robbery and brandishing a firearm in connection to a crime of violence.  On June 16, 2021, Dexter Jamal Williams pled guilty to the charges.

According to court documents and other information presented in court, Williams, 23, and his co-defendants, Arafat Alzer and Bashar Hroub, committed an armed robbery at the Royal Eco Marketing Company in Raleigh, North Carolina, on December 4, 2019. During the robbery, the defendants duct-taped the store manager to a chair, and repeatedly pistol-whipped and assaulted him before stealing over $20,000 worth of merchandise from the business. Video surveillance from the parking lot of the business shows Williams and Alzer leaving the scene in Alzer’s Toyota Camry, and Hroub leaving in his Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck.

As the defendants were leaving the scene, an employee of the business is observed firing multiple rounds from a gun at the two vehicles, striking both the Camry and the Silverado. Following the robbery, Alzer and Williams discarded Alzer’s vehicle in a parking lot in Raleigh and returned to Rocky Mount. When Raleigh Police responded to the vehicle, they recovered Alzer’s identification card and vehicle registration. Later that day, Williams checked into Nash General Hospital to receive treatment for his gunshot wound, and Alzer and Hroub traveled back to Raleigh to hide Williams’ firearm at Hroub’s girlfriend’s residence. On December 11, 2019, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at this residence and recovered the firearm.

Arafat Alzer pled guilty to Interference With Commerce by Robbery and Brandishing a Firearm During and in Relation to a Drug Trafficking Crime or a Crime of Violence; and Aiding and Abetting on July 28, 2020 and was sentenced to 70 months imprisonment on September 3, 2021.  Bashar Hroub pled guilty to Interference With Commerce by Robbery and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon on July 23, 2021 and is awaiting sentencing.

On February 11, 2020, officers with the Rocky Mount Police Department executed a search warrant at Williams’ residence and recovered 688 grams of marijuana and a .40 caliber handgun. On May 12, 2020, Rocky Mount Police responded to a shooting at a residential location. There, they encountered Williams, who was in possession of a stolen .9mm handgun.

Acting U.S. Attorney Acker commented: “The United States Justice Department and the United States Attorney’s Office are aggressively pursuing violent offenders and gang members.  This sentence is part of our efforts to “Take Back North Carolina” from those who wish to bring harm to the citizens of the Eastern District of North Carolina.”

“ATF remains committed to protecting lives and property against violent gun crime,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Vince Pallozzi. “Our federal and local law enforcement agencies put together a very comprehensive investigation and stopped a serious threat to our communities. This arrest and conviction absolutely makes our community safer.”

“Our mission here at the Rocky Mount Police Department is to improve the quality of life in the city of Rocky Mount by building partnerships to reduce crime,” commented Rocky Mount Police Chief Robert Hassell. “We value our partnership with our Federal Law Enforcement agencies, who assist us in creating a safe environment for all citizens who reside and visit Rocky Mount, NC. The Rocky Mount Police Department will continue to work with Federal, State, and Local law enforcement agencies while providing the highest level of police services.”

G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II.  The Raleigh Police Department, the Rocky Mount Police Department, and the Wake County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Aakash Singh prosecuted the case.