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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 14, 2018

Federal Jury Finds Greenville Felon Guilty in Firearm Trial

Prosecution part of U.S. Attorney’s “Operation Real Time”

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Sherri Lydon announced today that a jury returned a guilty verdict following a trial in federal court in Anderson, South Carolina on Tuesday. The jury found Zee Zee Zelazurro, age 37, of Greenville, guilty of possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony and a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g).  The trial was held before United States District Judge Timothy M. Cain of Anderson, South Carolina.  Judge Cain will impose a sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report, which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.  Zelazurro may face up to life in prison and remains in custody.

Evidence presented by the government at trial established that, on May 2, 2017, officers of the Greenville Police Department responded to 911 calls regarding a shooting and other disturbances in the area of 100 Pelham Road. Officers encountered Zelazurro, who refused to comply with their instructions and pointed a black semi-automatic handgun at them. Officers took cover, and a standoff ensued. After a half an hour, officers were able to deescalate the situation, and Zelazurro was taken into custody. A .40 caliber Taurus semi-automatic handgun, which had been purchased by Zelazurro’s former girlfriend, was recovered from the scene. Zelazurro has prior convictions for Accessory after the Fact to Armed Robbery, Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Assault on a Federal Officer, and a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

Zelazurro’s case was expedited for federal prosecution as part of Operation “Real Time.”  The goal of this program is to identify individuals for federal prosecution with significant criminal histories who continue to actively possess firearms in the communities across South Carolina.  “Real Time” is a working collaboration between local, state, and federal law enforcement as well as state and federal prosecutors.  Since August of 2015, the initiative has resulted in the expedited federal prosecution of over 150 defendants and seizure of over 200 firearms as well as assorted ammunition from prohibited persons in the upstate.

“We are grateful to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the ATF for the successful prosecution of Zelazurro,” said Captain Howie Thompson of the Greenville Police Department Investigation Division. “I also commend the officers involved in Zelazurro’s arrest in 2017; their response, tactics, and teamwork resulted in Zelazurro’s peaceful surrender and minimized the threat to those living nearby. I can’t say enough about the collective efforts of the officers, investigators, and forensics personnel who provided prosecutors with the necessary evidence and support needed to reach this just verdict.”

“ATF is actively committed to investigating and apprehending criminals who illegally acquire and use firearms to commit violent crimes.  We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and prosecutors in the upstate area to keep our communities safe,” said ATF Charlotte Field Division, Special Agent in Charge Wayne L. Dixie, Jr..

“Operation Real Time identifies armed repeat offenders in our communities and takes them off the streets,” said U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon. “Convicted felons who continue to carry and use firearms need to know we are determined in our resolve to disarm and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”

The case was investigated by the Greenville Police Department, the Greenville County Forensic Division, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Assistant United States Attorney Jamie Schoen prosecuted the case.

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Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Lance Crick (864) 282-2105
Updated June 14, 2018