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Press Release

Lancaster County Woman Sentenced for Straw Purchase of a Firearm

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

Contact Person: William Witherspoon (803) 929-3000

Columbia, South Carolina---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Lillie Mae Govea, age 26, of Lancaster, South Carolina was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Columbia, South Carolina, for straw purchasing a firearm.  United States District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis of Columbia sentenced Govea to 10 months in federal prison.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that on October 21, 2014, a Lancaster County deputy met with Govea about her pistol being stolen.  According to Govea, someone had stolen her pistol out of the trunk of her car.  She indicated that the only person who had been in the trunk of the car was her boyfriend.  

The officer then contacted the boyfriend who told the officer that a friend of his named "Nick" had asked Govea to purchase a pistol for him.  Nick gave Govea and the boyfriend money and told them to make the purchase at a named local gun store.  Govea agreed.  Govea indicated that during the entire drive to the gun store, her boyfriend was on the telephone asking for directions.  When they got to the store, he showed her a picture of a specific pistol that had been previously advertised by the store.  However, the store did not have the pistol in stock so they urchased a different pistol and ammunition instead. 

On the way back home, the boyfriend was talking to someone on the telephone and told them they would be returning shortly.  When they returned, a black male that she did not know approached them, gave her additional money for the pistol and took the pistol out of the car.  The boyfriend told Govea to wait three (3) days to report the pistol stolen in case Nick did something "bad" with it.  Govea waited less than one (1) day to report the pistol stolen.  The pistol was later found in the possession of a convicted felon during a search by another police jurisdiction.   

The case was investigated by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Lancaster County Sheriff's Office.  Assistant United States Attorney William K. Witherspoon of the Columbia office prosecuted the case.

This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases.


Updated February 24, 2017

Firearms Offenses