Columbia, South Carolina --- Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett DeHart announced today that Anthony Earl Baxter, 37, of Columbia, was sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, as well as possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine.
Evidence presented in court showed that on November 7, 2019, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department was dispatched on a call for service related to a domestic assault with a firearm. The victim advised deputies that the suspect fled the scene, and deputies observed the suspect vehicle being driven by Baxter leaving the area. When the deputies tried to pull Baxter over, he pulled off the road and began a high speed car chase that reached over 90 MPH, with Baxter weaving in and out of traffic, driving into oncoming lanes of traffic, and jumping a center medium curb.
Baxter took marked patrol cars with lights and sirens activated on a car chase through business and residential areas of Columbia. The car chase ended with Baxter crashing his vehicle and then attempting to flee by foot with a backpack in hand onto a residential property. Deputies detained Baxter and discovered in the backpack: two 9mm handguns and ammunition, four digital scales, U.S. currency, cocaine and methamphetamine.
Federal law prohibits Baxter from possessing firearms and ammunition based on multiple prior felony convictions. Baxter’s prior convictions include for drug charges in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013; a weapons charge in 2004; and a criminal domestic violence charge in 2007. Due to his multiple controlled substance convictions, Baxter was considered a career offender within the meaning of the federal sentencing guidelines.
United States District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs sentenced Baxter to 151 months in federal prison, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorney Elliott B. Daniels prosecuted the case.
The case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
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