Fort Mill Woman Pleads to Federal Firearm Charge
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated that Shiquisa Monique Watts, a/k/a “Quisha,” age 23, of Fort Mill, 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, Section 922(g)(1). United States District Judge Michelle Childs, of Columbia, accepted the guilty plea and will impose sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report, which will be prepared by the United States Probation Office.
Evidence presented in court established that on September 10, 2016, officers with the Fort Mill Police Department responded to a fight in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Officers gathered information that one of the individuals involved in the altercation was Watts and that she had been armed with a handgun. Watts and others involved had since left the area. However, officers made contact with Watts at her home as she was exiting a vehicle. Officers located a loaded Ruger .380 caliber handgun in the car and Watts admitted possessing it. Further investigation revealed that the firearm had previously been reported stolen.
Watts is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition based upon her prior state convictions for distribution of marijuana and distribution of marijuana within the proximity of a park.
Watts 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 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Fort Mill Police 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.