Florence Man Pleads to Federal Firearm Charge
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated that Jackie Tyrell Kennedy, age 24, of Florence, plead guilty today in federal court to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). Chief United States District Judge Terry L. Wooten, of Columbia, accepted the guilty plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report, which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Evidence presented in court established on October 13, 2017, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with officers and deputies from the Columbia Police Department, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department executed a sting operation as part of “Operation Cross County,” targeting human sex trafficking. While investigating sex trafficking at a Columbia motel, agents encountered Kennedy, who fled on foot and dropped a Cobra .380 caliber handgun along the way. Agents were able to locate the firearm and also additional ammunition, which belonged to Kennedy.
Kennedy is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition based upon his August 2017 Virginia conviction for possession of ecstasy.
Kennedy faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and 3 years of supervised release on the felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition charge.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Columbia Police Department, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, and the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department 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.
Project Ceasefire is South Carolina’s continued application of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.