The WHO ARE THE PEOPLE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Matthew Lee Yensan
In September of 2017, I lived in Raleigh, North Carolina and I was busy not getting done what was supposed to be my 2017 North Carolina State Fair Project. There were two reasons for this:
- One, I was busy working on a crochet installation piece that was part of Olek’s “Love Across the USA” project.
- Two, I was back and forth between North Carolina and New Mexico as we prepared to close on a house we were purchasing in Albuquerque.
Matthew Lee Yensan, who also lived in Raleigh, was busy being arrested on a criminal complaint that outlined just two code violations with the following Offense Description:
- Possession with Intent to Distribute a Quantity of Marijuana
- Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime.
Then, because all of his known assets had been seized during the arrest for these two violations, a day or two later, he was appointed a public defender.
But at the time, none of this was reported.
I don’t recall how I came to see the story of Matthew Lee Yensan’s arrest, but it was dumb luck that I saw it at all. While he had been taken into custody over two months earlier it wasn’t until November 20, 2017 that a local television station, WRAL reported the following:
In addition to the items detailed in the above paragraph, Matthew had “ 400 pounds of Xanax precursors used to manufacture the drug” in addition to “80,000 dosage units” of Xanax ready for sale.
Obviously, there was a lot more going on than the two “Offenses” described in the original complaint, and further.
The next day, on November 21, 2017, the Raleigh News and Observer also published a report of his arrest. While the complaint had alleged Matthew had possession of “a firearm,” the News and Observer reported the following:
The agents also recovered two Glock .40 caliber pistols, a Smith and Wesson revolver, a Colt revolver and an MPS .22 caliber rifle. All of the firearms were loaded, according to the criminal complaint
All of which added up to more than was in the original complaint.
As I read the story, I noticed the address: 8709 Hidden View Court
I opened another browser window and I did what I always do in such cases: I looked up the address on a map. It was just 4.5 miles from the home where I lived which, in the area known as “North Raleigh,” is almost next door.
The area is populated with large houses on even larger lots that are plunked down in the middle of a deciduous forest. If you live as close as 4.5 miles to someone, it means you shop at the same grocery stores, fuel up at the same gas stations, and, quite possibly, take your pets to the same veterinarian.
I tried to keep up with the Matthew Lee Yensan story. It was clear from the quantity of stuff known to have been seized that this was going to be a big case, except that it wasn’t.
Just 133 days after he was arrested at his home in Raleigh, North Carolina, Matthew Lee Yensan, quietly, and with little fanfare, or reporting pled guilty to the following as reported by WRAL three weeks after the plea was entered:
possession with the intent to distribute a quantity of alprazolam, (the generic name for Xanax), distribution of a quantity of alprazolam by means of the internet, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, conspiracy to conceal transactions with a financial institution with drug proceeds over $10,000 and international money laundering.
No mention was made of any charges related to the marijuana that was seized, and there were no charges related to any of the firearms, let alone the solitary weapon referenced in the original complaint.
A day of reckoning
June 1, 2018, was the beginning of the end of Matthew Lee Yensan’s criminal case. Sentenced to 78 months in federal prison, it was the first step toward any chance he has of redeeming his life.
Matthew was only 25 at the time his sentence began to run but given that he had already been involved in the illegal manufacture of drugs for so many years of his young life, it is hard to imagine that he will be able to change, and I am mystified at what seems a very light sentence.
I am further puzzled as to the paucity of information about the case, but I suspect that one day when court records are unsealed, we will find out what else the trail from 8709 Hidden View Court lead to.
I wish Matthew Lee Yensan all the best in his efforts to rehabilitate himself, but he has a long way to go before people can be comfortable welcoming him back into their neighborhoods.