Columbia Man Pleads to Federal Firearm Charge
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon stated that Corey F. Kitt, age 38, of Columbia, plead guilty in federal court to knowingly using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c). 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 December 4, 2017, deputies with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department responded to Old Hopkins Road and Garners Ferry Road in reference to a subject sleeping behind the wheel of a truck while it was running and in drive on the roadway. Deputies found the driver to be Kitt, detected the odor of alcohol, and determined that Kitt, who did not have a driver’s license in his possession, was actually under suspension. Deputies also located a passenger asleep in the truck and upon speaking with her, they learned that there was possibly a shotgun in the back of the truck. Deputies searched the truck and found a loaded Glock handgun and a loaded 12 gauge shotgun. Further investigation revealed Kitt’s DNA on the handgun. Deputies also found methamphetamine and heroin inside the truck. Kitt admitted possession of the handgun and the drug.
Kitt faces a statutory mandatory 5 years imprisonment and a maximum of life, a fine of $250,000, and 5 years of supervised release. Kitt has prior convictions in state court, which prohibit him from possessing firearms and ammunition.
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.