News and Press Releases

Former Chester Gang Member Sentenced to 188 Months on Federal Firearm Charge

January 8, 2014

Contact Person: Stacey Haynes (803) 929-3000

     COLUMBIA, SC – United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that WILLIAM LEE JONES, age 28, of Chester, South Carolina was sentenced to 188 months (15.8 years) imprisonment today in federal court.  In September 2013, JONES pled guilty to being a felon in possession of firearms, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1), 924(a)(2), and 924(e).  Senior United States District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie of Columbia imposed the sentence, which will be followed by 5 years of supervised release. 

Evidence presented at the earlier change of plea hearing established that on July 22, 2012, officers with the Chester County Sheriff’s Office investigated a burglary of a home in which two firearms were stolen, a 20 gauge and a .22 caliber rifle.  Three days later, officers learned that JONES had told someone that he had firearms for sale.  The next day, July 26, 2012, JONES sold two firearms, a 20 gauge shotgun and a .22 caliber rifle, to a confidential informant and an undercover officer in exchange for $250.  The transaction occurred behind JONES’ mother’s home in Chester.   During the sale, JONES indicated that he could obtain other firearms to sell.     

JONES, who admitted during his sentencing hearing that he was a former Skinhead gang member, was deemed by the federal court as an armed career criminal based upon his extensive prior state convictions.  JONES is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and/or ammunition based upon his prior state convictions for burglary 3rd degree (four separate counts), escape (recaptured in state), assault on a correctional officer, taking of hostage by inmate, and assault and battery 2nd degree.

The case was investigated by the Chester County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases.  Assistant United States Attorney Stacey D. Haynes of the Columbia office handled the case.


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