Pickens man sentenced in pipe bomb case

By: Staff Report

COLUMBIA — U.S. Attorney Beth Drake stated that Matthew Joseph Kelly, 29, of Pickens, has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Cain.

Kelly previously entered a guilty plea in federal court on Jan. 18, 2017, for possessing a destructive device.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that on Aug. 19, 2016, agents with the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force along with deputies from the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office had an arrest warrant for an individual believed to be at a residence in Easley.

While at this residence, agents encountered Kelly and obtained permission to search his belongings. This search revealed a pipe bomb in a bag belonging to Kelly.

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 possess firearms in the Upstate community.

Since August of 2015, the initiative has resulted in the expedited federal prosecution of some 115 defendants and seizure of over 130 firearms as well as assorted ammunition from prohibited persons.

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,” she said.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Assistant United States Attorney Max Cauthen in the Greenville U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case.

Staff Report