By Jefferson Weaver
A local man convicted of federal drug charges in 2008 was among the 1,751 people whose sentences were commuted Thursday by the outgoing president.
James Anthony Frink, 46, was convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine base (crack), distribution of five grams or more of crack, three counts of aiding and abetting, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense in the fall of 2008. He was sentenced to serve 15.5 years in federal prison.
Frink was videotaped making drug sales in July of 2006, and was convicted with co-conspirators Gregory Walker and Davon Smith.
The bust came as part of a long-term undercover operation targeting several known drug markets in the county. Neighborhoods in Whiteville, Chadbourn, Evergreen and several rural areas were hit in a simultaneously raid on the morning of Sept. 6, with 22 of 30 suspects being arrested before 10 a.m. Deputies and federal agents seized weapons, cash, stolen goods, cocaine, crack and prescription pills in the raids.
A presidential commutation is different than a full pardon, in that the defendant’s conviction remains if the sentence is commuted.
Instead of serving his full sentence, Frink will be released May 19, 2017, and will also be absolved from having to pay a $9,050 fine.
Frink was one of 330 commutations granted Thursday, making a total of 1,751 during his administration. The Obama administration issued more presidential pardons than any other in history, according to whitehouse.gov. Thursday’s list was also the most issued on a single day. Most of those were for drug offenders will lengthy sentences.