Ayden man sentenced to firearms charge

NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) – An Eastern Carolina man faces over nine years in prison for a firearms charge.

Hia-Keem Rice, of Ayden, pled guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and was sentenced to over nine years in prison.

According to court documents, on January 10, 2019, officers with the Greenville Police Department conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Rice. When 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 canceled for safety reasons. 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 an identification card.

According to evidence presented at sentencing, Rice was also involved in a June 23, 2019 incident. Kinston Police Department officers responded to a call that Rice and another individual brandished firearms at a McDonald’s. Rice was driving when the vehicle was located and stopped. 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. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Stephany prosecuted the case.

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