U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
District of South Carolina
District of South Carolina
For Immediate Release
April 23, 2014
Bill Nettles, United States Attorney
Contact: Stacey D. Haynes
Rock Hill Man Pleads Guilty To Firearm And Ammunition Charge
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Clarence L. Rhodes, age 37, of Rock Hill, South Carolina pled guilty as charged today in federal court. Rhodes plead 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). United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. accepted the plea and will impose a sentence after he 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 at approximately 11:34 pm on June 15, 2013, York Police Department officers received a call about an intoxicated man in the roadway. Officers responded to the scene and found Rhodes, who appeared to be grossly intoxicated, staggering in the roadway. Rhodes attempted to flee, but fell. Rhodes was placed under arrest for public intoxication and a search incident to arrest revealed a Smith and Wesson .32 caliber handgun in his back right pocket, along with 1.9 grams of crack cocaine. The firearm was loaded with one live round and five spent casings. Rhodes admitted that the firearm belonged to him.
The investigation revealed that Rhodes is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and/or ammunition based upon his prior state convictions for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (3 separate convictions), distribution of crack cocaine, distribution of crack cocaine near a school, possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine 2nd offense, possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine near a school, and stalking.
Mr. Nettles stated that Rhodes faces a maximum of ten (10) years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 and a term of supervised release of up to three (3) years. However, if the district court determines that Rhodes is an armed career criminal based upon his prior state convictions, he faces a mandatory minimum fifteen (15) years imprisonment with a maximum of life, a $250,000 fine, and up to five (5) years of supervised release.
The case was investigated by the York Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), 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.