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Press Release

Operation “REAL-TIME”: Spartanburg Felon Enters Guilty Plea in Federal Court on Ammunition Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina
Kelly pled guilty this morning in Anderson, moments before his jury trial was set to begin

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Ray Anthony Kelly, age 55, of Spartanburg, pled guilty this morning in federal court in Anderson to possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(1).  United States District Judge Timothy M. Cain accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.  Kelly, a previously convicted felon who is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition, faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. Kelly was arrested on federal firearms charges on June 16, 2016, and has remained in custody since his federal arrest.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing this morning established that on June 6, 2016, members of the Spartanburg Police Department (SPD) responded to a call regarding shots-fired in the parking lot of an auto repair store on John White Boulevard.  When SPD officers arrived and began to process the scene, they recovered eight .9mm shell casings and interviewed multiple individuals present at the location.  Based on those interviews, SPD officers determined that an earlier argument between two individuals in the parking lot led to an exchange of gun fire.   Officers learned that during that exchange, Kelly returned fire, firing 9mm shots from a firearm.  A firearm was not recovered however, as earlier noted, .9mm shell casings were collected by SPD.  On June 9, 2016, during an interview with SPD officers, Kelly admitted to possession of the ammunition during the shooting.

Kelly was arrested federally as a part of “Operation Real-Time.”  The goal of this program is to identify individuals for federal prosecution with significant criminal histories who continue to actively possess firearms in the Upstate community.  In addition to the Spartanburg Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Real Time’s core partners include the Greenville Police Department, the Anderson Police Department, the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services, the South Carolina Highway Patrol, United States Probation, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the 7th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, the 10th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office.  Since August of 2015, the initiative has resulted in the expedited federal prosecution of some 100 defendants and seizure of approximately 115 firearms as well as assorted ammunition from prohibited persons.

U.S. Attorney Beth Drake commended the partnership between the state and federal agencies that led to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the U.S. Attorney’s Office adopting the case, “We work best when we work together.  This ‘real time’ identification of high risk offenders is smart policing, and we welcome the opportunity to work alongside our state chiefs and sheriffs in taking violent repeat offenders out of our communities.”

The Spartanburg Police Department along with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Max Cauthen is prosecuting the case.



Lance Crick (864) 282-2105

Updated May 22, 2017

Firearms Offenses