Columbia Man Pleads to Federal Firearm Charge

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA —Ernest Durane Mack, a/k/a “Marcus Mack,” 35, of Cayce, has pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Evidence obtained in the investigation revealed that on July 26, 2019, a trooper with the South Carolina Highway Patrol initiated a traffic stop on St. Andrews Road in Columbia on a vehicle driven by Mack after recognizing it to be a vehicle he had attempted to stop a week earlier for a traffic violation, but which fled during the chase. After stopping the vehicle, Mack exited and fled on foot. Officers located Mack in a nearby apartment complex breezeway and observed him with a handgun, which he then threw towards the officers. Mack advised officers that he fled because he had the handgun in the car. The investigation revealed that the handgun had previously been reported stolen in Spartanburg County. Mack, who was on state probation at the time of the offense, has prior state convictions for trafficking cocaine (2 separate counts), forgery, possession of a controlled substance, and criminal domestic violence 1st degree (2 separate counts). 

On the firearm charge, Mack faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. He also faces a fine of up to $250,000, restitution, and three years of supervision to follow the term of imprisonment. United States District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis accepted the guilty plea and will sentence Mack after receiving and reviewing a sentencing report prepared by the United States Probation Office.

This investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the South Carolina Highway Patrol is part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey D. Haynes is prosecuting the case.

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