Columbia Man Pleads To Federal Firearm Charge
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon stated that Rondell Lakevis Waiters, age 35, of Columbia, plead guilty in federal court to being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(1). Chief United States District Judge Terry L. Wooten, of Columbia, accepted the guilty plea and will impose a sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report, which will be prepared by the United States Probation Office.
Evidence presented in court established that on April 11, 2018, deputies with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department executed a lawful search warrant on a hotel room in Columbia after making an undercover buy of narcotics from that location. During execution of the search warrant, deputies encountered Waiters and recovered two firearms inside the hotel room. After advise of rights, Waiters admitted possession of one of the firearms. Waiters is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition based upon his prior state drug convictions.
Waiters faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and 3 years of supervised release on the firearm charge. However, if he is deemed an armed career criminal based upon his extensive prior record, he faces a statutory mandatory minimum 15 years imprisonment with a maximum of life, a fine of $250,000, and 5 years of supervised release.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and was prosecuted as part of Project CeaseFire, a joint federal, state and local initiative focused upon aggressively prosecuting firearm cases in an effort to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer. Project CeaseFire is South Carolina’s implementation of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a crime reduction strategy originally launched in 2001. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority and reinstituted PSN nationwide. Assistant United States Attorney William K. Witherspoon of the Columbia office handled the case.