Lancaster County Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug and Gun Charges
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon stated today that Lamonta Roberts, age 25, of Lancaster, South Carolina, has entered a guilty plea in federal court in Columbia, to possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine, a violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). United States District Chief 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 at the change of plea hearing established that on May 4, 2017, the Lancaster County SWAT team executed a search warrant at the home that Roberts and his brother shared. The search warrant was for clothing that the brother wore during a robbery. As the officers entered the residence, they saw cocaine in plain view. The officers obtained a second search warrant for the drugs. During their search, the officers found two (2) Glock pistols (one under a pillow on the bed and the other in a safe that also contained cash), narcotics and a digital scale from Roberts’ dresser with his identification. Following his arrest, the police heard Roberts’ state “the police got both of my guns”. Also, Roberts’ girlfriend gave a statement that she later retracted claiming ownership of everything in the house. The drugs were tested and determined to be methamphetamine and cocaine.
Ms. Lydon stated the maximum penalty for these charges is life imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,000,000.
The case was investigated by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Lancaster County Sheriff's Department and was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases. Project CeaseFire is part 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. Assistant United States Attorney William K. Witherspoon of the Columbia office is prosecuting the case.