COLUMBIA, S.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A Charlotte man pleaded guilty to federal gun charges stemming from a 2020 arrest in Lancaster, S.C. 

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Wednesday, 22-year-old Gerell Michael Hart-Smith, aka “Rell,” was recently convicted in federal court to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. 

Court documents show that in the Spring of 2020, agents with Lancaster County Drug Task Force and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division were assisting Charlotte-Mecklenburg authorities by looking for Hart-Smith on outstanding armed-robbery warrants when they received information that he was staying with his girlfriend in her Lancaster apartment. 

Federal law prohibits Hart-Smith from possessing firearms and ammunition based on his October 2019 North Carolina conviction for larceny of a motor vehicle.   

On March 20, 2020, agents went to the Lancaster apartment, Hart-Smith eventually came out and was placed under arrest on the outstanding warrants. 

The girlfriend allegedly told authorities that Hart-Smith had a gun inside the apartment, which she turned over to them. She later admitted that he had been staying with her for the past month and kept the gun inside the apartment. DNA analysis linked the loaded gun to Hart-Smith, court documents say. 

Hart-Smith faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. He also faces up to three years of court-ordered supervision following his prison term.  

He also was one of three men charged in connection to a series of eight armed robberies in 2019 at convenience stores around Charlotte.

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

A date was not set for sentencing.