Skip to main content
Press Release

North Charleston Man Pleads Guilty to Felon in Possession of a Firearm

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

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA —Deontrae Clyde Smalls, 37, of North Charleston, has pleaded guilty to felon in possession of a firearm and no contest to possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Evidence presented to the Court revealed that Smalls was stopped by Charleston County Sheriff’s Office deputies after running a red light. Smalls was the sole occupant of the vehicle, and deputies immediately smelled marijuana when they approached the driver’s side window. After searching the vehicle, deputies found a loaded .40 caliber handgun and marijuana, packaged in 26 small bags, inside the dashboard of the vehicle. Smalls also had more than $1,000 in cash in his pocket at the time of arrest. Smalls is prohibited from possessing a firearm because of a prior drug distribution conviction for which he served five years. During the stop, Smalls told deputies he knew he was not supposed to possess a gun.

Smalls faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. He also faces a fine of up to $250,000, restitution, and three years of supervision to follow the term of imprisonment.  United States District Judge Bruce H. Hendricks accepted the plea and will sentence Smalls after receiving and reviewing a sentencing report prepared by the United States Probation Office.

This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, 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.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Orville is prosecuting the case.



Derek A. Shoemake (843) 813-0982

Updated May 16, 2022

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses