North Carolina man sentenced to more than nine years in prison for firearm charge

Published 11:33 am Monday, October 31, 2022

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An Ayden man was sentenced Friday, October 28, 2022 to 110 months in prison for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, according to a press release from the Department of Justice, Eastern District of North Carolina. Hia-Keem Don’ae Rice pleaded guilty to the charge on October 12, 2021.

According to court documents, on January 10, 2019, officers with the Greenville Police Department conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Rice, but when he was asked to step out of the vehicle, Rice sped away.

“Officers saw Rice throw a bag out of the car window. After Rice struck another vehicle at an intersection, the chase was cancelled for safety reasons,” stated the release. “Officers recovered the bag Rice threw from the window, which contained a loaded .223 caliber semi-automatic pistol with a large capacity magazine, ammunition, 28 grams of marijuana, Rice’s wallet and identification card.”

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According to evidence presented at sentencing, Rice was also involved in a June 23, 2019 incident in which Kinston Police Department officers responded to a call that Rice and another individual brandished firearms at a McDonald’s location.

“Rice was driving when the vehicle was located and stopped,” stated the release. “A safety search resulted in the seizure of a .380 caliber pistol and a .45 caliber pistol, both of which were found under the driver’s seat.”

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Greenville Police Department and Kinston Police Department investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Stephany prosecuted.

“This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone,” stated the release. “On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.”



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