Columbia, South Carolina — United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that DeMario Ontrey Ware, age 26, of Rock Hill, South Carolina pled guilty today in federal court. Ware pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1), 924(a)(2), and 924(e). Senior United States District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie accepted the plea and will impose a sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report, which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that on the morning of May 22, 2014, officers with the Rock Hill Police Department Violent Crimes Unit were patrolling when they noticed Ware, a known gang member, on the front porch of a residence on Hickory Lane. Officers knew that Ware had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, so they approached him and placed him under arrest for that warrant. Officers located a loaded Bryco .380 caliber handgun in Ware’s front pocket while searching him incident to his arrest. Ware is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and/or ammunition based upon his prior federal conviction for armed bank robbery and his prior state convictions for discharging a firearm into a dwelling and criminal conspiracy to commit assault and battery 1st degree.
Mr. Nettles stated that Ware faces a statutory maximum sentence of ten (10) years, a fine of $250,000 and a term of supervised release of up to three (3) years following the term of imprisonment. However, if Ware were found to have three (3) prior violent felony convictions and/or serious drug convictions, he would be deemed an armed career criminal under federal law and face a statutory mandatory minimum of fifteen (15) years imprisonment with a maximum of life, a fine of $250,000 and a term of supervised release of up to five (5) years following the term of imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Rock Hill 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.