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Press Release

Three Felons Are Sentenced To Prison For Gun Possession

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

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray announced today that three felons, prosecuted separately, have been sentenced to prison on gun possession charges. U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger presided over the sentencing hearings.

Dennis MacAuthor Rice, 50, of Barnardsville, N.C., was sentenced to 77 months in prison and three years of supervised release.  According to court records, on June 5, 2018, an undercover officer with the Buncombe County Anti-Crime Taskforce (BCAT) and another individual met with Rice.  During the meeting, the undercover officer purchased from Rice a firearm with a magazine that contained three rounds of ammunition.  Rice was convicted in August 2014 of Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle and, as a result of that conviction, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Brandon Kendrick James, 33, of Greensboro, N.C., was sentenced to 57 months in prison and three years of supervised release.  Court records show that on October 1, 2018, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a call regarding a dispute in Candler, N.C., in which James was involved. While on the scene, law enforcement found in the glove compartment of James’ vehicle a semi-automatic pistol loaded with one round of ammunition in the chamber. Next to the firearm was a large capacity magazine, loaded with 15 rounds of ammunition.  James was previously convicted of selling cocaine, and is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Steven Vincent Thomas White, 33, of Asheville, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release. According to court records, on July 25, 2018, a deputy with the Buncombe County’s Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle White was driving. Over the course of the traffic stop, law enforcement recovered a loaded firearm from a backpack that belonged to White, located inside the vehicle. White has a prior federal drug conspiracy conviction and is prohibited from possessing a firearm. White was on federal supervised release at the time he committed the offense. 

In making todays’ announcement, U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray thanked the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, the Asheville Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their assistance in their respective investigations.

Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA) Alexis Solheim prosecuted all three cases.  Ms. Solheim is a state prosecutor with the office of the 30th Prosecutorial District, and was assigned by District Attorney Ashley Welch to serve a SAUSA with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville.  Ms. Solheim is duly sworn in both state and federal courts.  The SAUSA position is a reflection of the partnership between the office of the 30th Prosecutorial District and the United States Attorney’s Office.  The SAUSA position helps ensure the effective and vigorous prosecution of federal court cases that impact the counties within the 30th Prosecutorial District. 


Updated June 18, 2019

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