Newberry Gang Member Detained on Federal Gun Charge
Greenville, South Carolina --- Acting United States Attorney A. Lance Crick announced today that Zachary Shakur Stephens, age 26, of Newberry, was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and has been detained following a hearing in federal court in Greenville.
The United States Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) secured a federal arrest warrant pursuant to a criminal complaint alleging Stephens had unlawfully possessed a firearm and ammunition. ATF, with the assistance of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, arrested Stephens the same day. He appeared in court for a preliminary hearing and to address the issue of bond. Stephens was ordered detained without bond pending resolution of the federal charge against him.
During the hearing, an ATF special agent informed the court that Stephens was involved in a traffic stop on October 31, 2019, and found to be in possession of a loaded firearm. Federal law prohibits Stephens from possessing firearms and ammunition due to a prior felony conviction for strong arm robbery. Stephens told investigators with the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office that he was a member of a gang and he carried a gun to protect himself from rival gang members living in Newberry County. At the time of the traffic stop, Stephens was out on bond for a state court weapons charge from August 2019 that also involved the possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
As a result of the federal charge, Stephens faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years. The offense listed in the arrest warrant is merely an allegation, and Stephens is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. Assistant United States Attorney Justin Holloway of the Greenville office is prosecuting the case.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.
DeWayne Pearson (803) 343-3175