News and Press Releases

Four Columbia Men Plead Guilty to Hobbes Act Robbery and Firearm Charges

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2013

Contact Person: Stacey Haynes (803) 929-3000

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated that JACQUAN OLANDO JONES, a/k/a “Jay,” a/k/a “Squeeze,” age 23, TRAVIS HOWARD, age 33, VERNON DAVIS, age 23, and EDDIE WILBERT MOBLEY, a/k/a “Bird,” age 26, all of Columbia, South Carolina each plead guilty to various charges arising from their federal arrests on October 30, 2012.  JONES, HOWARD, DAVIS, and MOBLEY each pled guilty to conspiracy to commit a Hobbes Act robbery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951(a).  Additionally, JONES, MOBLEY, and DAVIS each pled guilty to use/possession of firearms during and in furtherance of a crime of violence and/or drug trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 924(c) and 2;  JONES and MOBLEY each also pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2);  and JONES pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute and distribution of a quantity of marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(D).  HOWARD, DAVIS, and MOBLEY entered their guilty pleas April 3, 2013, and JONES entered his guilty plea April 8, 2013.   United States District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie of Columbia accepted the guilty pleas and will impose their sentences after she has reviewed their presentence reports, which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Evidence presented at the earlier change of plea hearings established that on September 18, 2012, JONES, a prohibited felon, sold two handguns, ammunition, and a quantity of marijuana to a confidential informant working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).  Thereafter, JONES engaged in a conversation with the confidential informant about a robbery of kilogram amounts of drugs.  A plan was discussed in which HOWARD, DAVIS, and MOBLEY were to conduct the robbery while armed with firearms.   Agents with ATF arrested HOWARD, MOBLEY, DAVIS on October 30, 2012, while enroute to the robbery.   Inside the vehicle, agents recovered two shotguns, a .40 caliber handgun, and pepper spray.  JONES, HOWARD, MOBLEY, and DAVIS each have prior state conviction(s) and are prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition.  DAVIS and JONES are known Bloods gang members.

Mr. Nettles stated that the conspiracy to commit Hobbes Act robbery charge carries a maximum of twenty (20) years imprisonment and/or a fine of $250,000;  the use/possession of firearms during and in furtherance of a crime of violence and/or drug trafficking crime charge carries a mandatory minimum of five (5) years and a maximum of Life imprisonment, consecutive to any other term of imprisonment; the felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition charge carries a maximum of ten (10) years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000; and the possession with intent to distribute and distribution of marijuana charge carries a maximum of five (5) years imprisonment and $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by 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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