A South Carolina man is heading to prison, but it's not for the crime that brought him to the attention of law enforcement.
Jackie Tyrell Kennedy was arrested in a sting operation targeting human sex trafficking, according to U.S. Attorney Beth Drake. But he pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, Drake's office reported.
On Tuesday, Kennedy was sentenced to 42 months (3-plus years) in prison, which will be followed by 3 years of supervised release, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
The 25-year-old Florence man was arrested Oct. 13, 2017, in a Columbia motel, as part of the human sex trafficking sting called “Operation Cross County,” according to Drake's office.
The sting included FBI agents, as well as Columbia police officers and deputies from the Richland County and Lexington County sheriff's departments.
The law enforcement officers "encountered Kennedy," who attempted to run away on foot and discard a handgun, failing in both regards: He was apprehended, and the Cobra .380 caliber handgun was also recovered, Drake's office said.
Agents said that Kennedy provided them with a false name, but they determined his true identity and recovered ammunition that belonged to him in the motel room.
Drake's office said that Kennedy is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition because of his August 2017 conviction in Virginia for possession of ecstasy. Kennedy was still on probation for that offense when he was arrested in the sting.
A female in the motel room described Kennedy "as sort of like her pimp," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Kennedy pleaded guilty to the weapons charge in January and could have been sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in federal prison and fined $250,000, Drake's office reported.