COLUMBIA — A Rock Hill man forbidden by federal law from having guns was found with more than 750 rounds of ammunition and four brands of guns weeks after he returned from a flight to Germany, authorities say. Now, hes facing a federal indictment and up to 20 years in prison.
John Contartesi, 32, has been indicted with one count of felon in possession of firearms and ammunition and one count of possession of unregistered National Firearms Act weapons, according to a news release issued Wednesday by the U.S. Attorneys Office. He was arrested last month after investigators with the state Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and York County Multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit found him with several weapons, ammo and airplane ticket stubs at a Hackberry Drive home, off Eastview Road.
Investigators discovered that Contartesi had never applied for or received a restoration of his federal firearms privileges, nor were any of his state charges pardoned, according to an affidavit filed in federal court. Contartesi in 2005 was convicted of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, a felony that restricts him from possession firearms or ammunition.
On Jan. 22, ATF agents and York County authorities executed a federal search warrant on Contartesis home. As part of a ruse, agents drove up to his house in a York County Animal Control truck. Contartesi walked out, authorities said, and approached the car. Agents found a loaded pistol in his back waistband.
Contarstei told police that he inherited the guns from his late father, the affidavit reads. A neighbor told police that Contartesi stashed the weapons at his home while he was traveling out of the country. Authorities realized he flew from the Untied States to Frankfurt, Germany on Nov. 25, 2013. He returned on Dec. 13.
But Contarstei counters that he was a "victim of circumstances."
Contarstei said he was in a car accident on Dec. 22, and suffered from serious back and neck injuries. After his father's death, the rest of his family moved to Virginia but he stayed behind to recover.
"The home does not belong to me," Contarstei said. "I'm not the executor of the estate."