Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 8, 2016

Pork Executive Was Carrying ‘Fully Functional’ Pistol, Police Say

(Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

(Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

The South Carolina man arrested Wednesday after carrying a firearm into the Cannon House Office building had a loaded Ruger LC9 semi-automatic pistol and a magazine with six rounds of ammunition, court documents state.

At the time of the arrest, the weapon appeared to be “fully functional” and “capable of being fired by a single hand,” according to hand-written comments on the charges.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Karen Howze ordered Ronald William Prestage, of Camden, S.C., the president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council, released from custody pending a preliminary hearing on Aug. 13. The 59-year-old pork executive is charged with a single count of possessing a gun outside a home or office, a felony that carries up to five years in prison.

Prestage was arrested at about 9:40 a.m. Wednesday, after Capitol Police found the concealed weapon as he went through security screening. The court documents, providing a detailed account of the arrest, say Prestage put a briefcase on the X-ray belt at the Rotunda door of the building. An officer spotted the handgun, inspected the bag and found a black Uncle Mike’s ankle holster containing the weapon, according to the documents filed in D.C. Superior Court.

Police said Prestage stated he had a permit to carry a concealed weapon in South Carolina. He does not have a permit to carry in D.C.

Inside the handgun was a magazine, containing six rounds of 9 mm ammunition. Further inspection by the crime scene lab uncovered one round in the chamber. Additional handwritten notes on the court document state that the gun had a barrel length of less than 12 inches.

Prestage has hired attorney Robert J. Spagnoletti, a former attorney general for the District of Columbia, who did not immediately respond to questions from CQ Roll Call.

  • wr

    “capable of being fired by a single hand” wow, super scary.

  • Ron Sutherland

    He’s not just any pork executive, Prestage Farms is the 5th largest pork producer in the country, with over 170,000 sows last year.

    And the NC State University Board of Trustees has bigger things to answer for, such as why the university is selling its 79,000-acre Hofmann Forest to an out of state corn farmer, at a time when the state’s hog producers are desperate for more local grain production, and when two hog farmers sit on the board (Prestage and Wendell Murphy).

    In 2012, midwestern corn was so expensive that Prestage Farms went in with Smithfield Foods (now owned by the chinese) to import 750,000 metric tons of corn from Brazil. Late in 2012, despite the sky-high feed prices, Prestage announced a $10 million dollar gift to NC State University to name their department of poultry science (Prestage also owns a ton of turkeys). About the same time, NCSU leaders meeting behind closed doors decided to go ahead and sell Hofmann Forest. A few months later they agreed to sell the forest to Jerry Walker, a corn farmer with operations in Illinois, Indiana, and other states. But they had promised the faculty and public in 2013 that the land would stay a working forest – hence the makings of a scandal…

    • Buster000

      Thanks for the pork update, I think I can sleep better at night now.

  • John Smith

    A message to liberals: You must cease your war against our sacred Constitution and our Bill of Rights.

    • Sea Dog

      Sure, John Smith – now you go buy a Clue…..

  • Buster000

    Of course it was functional, why would he be carrying one that wasn’t?

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