Lexington County Man Pleads to Being a Felon in Possession of Firearm and Ammunition and Possession of a Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated that Jake Rupert, age 33, of Lexington, plead guilty in federal court to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and to being in possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 922(k). Senior United States District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie, of Columbia, accepted the guilty plea and will impose sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report, which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Evidence presented in court established on April 19, 2017, a trooper with the South Carolina Highway Patrol was on patrol on Boy Scout Road in Lexington County when he observed a male (later identified as Rupert) and a female trying to take a tire off a Dodge Charger on the side of the road. The two individuals advised that they were trying to get the Charger out of the dirt for a friend and that their vehicle was the Lexus parked across the road. The trooper noticed that the tag on the Lexus was expired and the male and female both provided false names to the trooper, so he called for backup from the Gaston Police Department. During this time, Rupert paced back and forth nervously until the trooper advised him to have a seat on the ground next to the Lexus. After learning Rupert’s true identity, the trooper patted Rupert down and found a loaded Jimenez Arms 9mm handgun in the front waistband of his pants. The serial number on the handgun had been obliterated. The trooper also found a black bag containing additional 9mm ammunition in the area where Rupert had been sitting. Rupert admitted to recently being released from state prison and to being a gang member. Rupert was placed under arrest for state charges. At the detention center, officers also found a small amount of marijuana in Rupert’s wallet. The female was also arrested on outstanding warrants. Rupert later made bond on the state charges.
During the federal investigation, ATF learned that Rupert was the individual being sought by local law enforcement after accidentally discharging a shotgun inside Dutch Square on April 22, 2017, three days after the above incident. After advise of rights, Rupert admitted to ATF that he had a sawed-off shotgun in a bag inside the mall and that when he sat the bag down, the gun accidentally discharged. Rupert advised that he then fled the scene.
Rupert is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition based upon his prior state convictions for conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, burglary 2nd degree, grand larceny (4 counts), and possession of stolen motor vehicle. At the time of the incident, Rupert was on supervised re-entry release from the South Carolina Department of Corrections after being released March 31, 2017.
Rupert faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and 3 years of supervised release on the felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition charge. Rupert faces maximum of 5 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and 3 years of supervised release on the possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number charge
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the South Carolina Highway Patrol, and the Gaston 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.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
District of South Carolina