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Press Release

Fort Lawn Man Returning to Federal Prison for Possessing Firearms

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. —Jonathan Neely, 34, of Ft. Lawn, was sentenced to 46 months of incarceration after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.

Evidence presented to the court showed that on March 3, 2023, the Chester County Sheriff’s Office, United States Probation Office, and the United States Marshals’ Service (USMS) obtained an arrest warrant for Neely, for violation of his federal supervised release and a state search warrant for his residence, located in Ft. Lawn. Neely was on federal supervised release based upon convictions for knowingly possessing an unregistered firearm, knowingly possessing an unregistered firearm silencer, knowingly possessing of an unregistered firearm silencer without a serial number and possessing a firearm by an unlawful drug user.  These convictions happened in federal court in Asheville, North Carolina in 2018.   

A search of the residence resulted in the seizure of multiple rounds of ammunition, a pistol and a plastic baggie containing methamphetamine. Neely was not home during the search. Law enforcement then went to another residence in Ft. Lawn where one of Neely’s family members lived. Investigators noted a white colored trailer on the property. The police spoke to the family member who stated that the trailer belonged to Neely, that he had dropped it off on the property, and that only Neely had access to it.  The family member stated that they did not have keys to the trailer or knew what was inside of it.  The police obtained a search warrant for the trailer. A search of the trailer was then executed.  In the trailer, the police found a large amount of ammunition and six firearms.

On March 14, 2023, the USMS located Neely and placed him under arrest. Following his arrest, Neely acknowledged that he owned the firearms found in the trailer.

United States District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis sentenced Neely to 46 months imprisonment, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision.  There is no parole in the federal system.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

This case was investigated by United States Probation Office, United States Marshals’ Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Chester County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney William K. Witherspoon is prosecuting the case.



Veronica Hill, Public Affairs Specialist,, (803) 929-3000

Updated April 9, 2024

Firearms Offenses