Sentinel Progress

Marietta man sentenced in federal court

GREENVILLE — Stephen Lewis McNeely, 43, of Marietta, was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Greenville for felon in possession of a firearm, a violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g), the U.S. Attorneys Office announced this week.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy M. Cain sentenced McNeely to 92 months in federal prison.

Evidence presented by the government at sentencing and during the guilty plea hearing earlier this year established that on April 24, 2016, members of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office received a tip concerning individuals in a vehicle in possession of illegal narcotics and a firearm.

GCSO located the truck and approached the two occupants, one of whom was McNeely. As they engaged the occupants in conversation, GCSO observed drug paraphernalia in the cab of the truck.

In a subsequent search, GCSO located a Ruger 9mm pistol, a Smith & Wesson .38-caliber pistol, a Ruger 10/22 caliber rifle, a Savage .22-caliber rifle, and a quantity of marijuana in the cab of the truck.

McNeely 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 actively possess firearms in the Upstate.

In addition to the GCSO and ATF, Real Time’s core partners include the Greenville Police Department, the Anderson Police Department, the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services, the South Carolina Highway Patrol, United States Probation, the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, DEA, the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, and the US Attorney’s Office.

U.S. Attorney Beth Drake commended the partnership between the state and federal agencies that led to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the U.S. Attorney’s Office adopting the case.

“We work best when we work together,” Drake said. “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.”

Since August of 2015, the initiative has resulted in the expedited federal prosecution of 118 defendants and seizure of 162 firearms as well as assorted ammunition from prohibited persons.

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office along with ATF, investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Max Cauthen prosecuted the case.

Staff Report