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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Gaston Man Sentenced on Firearms and Ammunition Charges



Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Warren Dominique McDaniel, age 28, of Gaston, South Carolina was sentenced today in federal court. McDaniel was sentenced to 105 months imprisonment, which was the high end of the advisory guidelines range of 84 to 105 months. Back in October 2014, McDaniel plead guilty to two (2) counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1), 924(a)(2), and 924(e). McDaniel plead straight up to both charges in the federal indictment without a plea agreement. United States District Judge Michelle Childs sentenced McDaniel to 105 months imprisonment, which will be followed by three (3) years of supervised release and payment of a $200 special assessment fee.

Evidence presented at the earlier change of plea hearing established that on July 22, 2010, officers with the Columbia Police Department executed a state search warrant at a Columbia residence following the controlled purchase of a small amount of marijuana from a male inside the residence. During a search of the residence, officers recovered a Romarm 7.62x39mm rifle with a 30-round high capacity magazine, a Taurus .45 caliber pistol, rounds of .45 caliber ammunition, a digital scale, a box of ziplock bags, and a marijuana blunt. McDaniel, who lived at the residence at the time, admitted that the guns and marijuana belonged to him and that he bought the guns off the street because he was a felon. McDaniel was charged by state authorities and plead guilty to simple possession of marijuana and paid a fine. Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing further established that on April 12, 2014, officers with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department responded to a shooting at a birthday party in Gaston, South Carolina and found that a 7-year-old female had been shot and killed and a 5-year-old male had been shot in the arm.

The investigation revealed that during the party, McDaniel’s girlfriend had unlocked the trunk of McDaniel’s vehicle to allow a child to retrieve a toy. Unbeknownst to her, while looking for the toy, the child found a loaded FEG 7.62x39mm rifle with a 30-round high capacity magazine in the trunk of the vehicle and pulled the trigger, causing the rifle to fire while inside the trunk, striking the other two (2) children who were standing outside the vehicle. The investigation revealed that the FEG firearm belonged to McDaniel, who admitted that he had purchased it off the street approximately 4 ½ years earlier, which would have been around the same time that the firearms were confiscated by law enforcement officials in 2010. McDaniel further admitted that he sold marijuana and that he kept the gun for protection.

The investigation revealed that McDaniel is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and/or ammunition based upon his prior state convictions. McDaniel’s prior state convictions consist of unlawful carrying of a weapon, possession of a pistol by a person under 21 years old, possession of less than 1 gram of crack cocaine, giving false information, criminal domestic violence, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and simple possession of marijuana.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, and the Columbia Police Department, and was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases. Assistant United States Attorney Stacey D. Haynes of the Columbia office handled the case.

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