News and Press Releases

Columbia Man Pleads Guilty to Firearm and Drug Charges

December 18, 2012

Contact Person: Stacey D. Haynes (803) 929-3000

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that John Henry Griffin, age 27, of Columbia, South Carolina entered a guilty plea in federal court.  Griffin plead guilty to two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and one count of possession with intent to distribute a quantity of marijuana, all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2) and Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(D).  United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. of Columbia accepted the plea and will impose his sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report, which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that on September 22, 2011, officers with the Columbia Police Department responded to the Flying J Truck Stop in response to a tip that Griffin, who was wanted on an outstanding warrant, was at the location. Officers located Griffin and a search revealed that Griffin had on his person a loaded Smithfield Armory .40 caliber handgun and two baggies of marijuana (approximately 2 ounces).  Griffin was charged with state charges and later released on bond.  Approximately three months later, on December 30, 2011, officers with the Columbia Police Department responded to a 911 call about a man making threats with a firearm in an apartment complex. Upon arriving at the scene, officers located Griffin, who fit the description given of the man with the firearm, and found him in possession of a loaded Smith and Wesson .380 caliber handgun on his person.  Griffin was arrested at the scene. 

Griffin is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and/or ammunition based upon his prior state felony convictions.  Griffin has prior state convictions for possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of ecstasy, unlawful carrying of a pistol and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.

Mr. Nettles stated that Griffin faces a maximum of ten (10) years imprisonment and/or a fine of $250,000 on the felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition charge and a maximum of ten (10) years imprisonment and/or a fine of $500,000 on the drug charge.

The case was investigated by the Columbia Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases.  Assistant United States Attorney Stacey D. Haynes of the Columbia office handled the case.

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