Ayden man sentenced to 110 months for firearm offense

Published 4:06 pm Monday, October 31, 2022

From U.S. Attorney Michael Easley / Eastern District of North Carolina

NEW BERN, N.C. –– An Ayden man was sentenced today to 110 months in prison for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. On October 12, 2021, Hia-Keem Don’ae Rice pled guilty to the charge.  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 cancelled 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 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.

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. 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.

A copy of this press release is located on our website. Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:20-CR-00041-FL.