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Press Release

Columbia Gang Member Sentenced to Over 17 Years in Federal Prison for Gun and Drug Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA —Erick Stewart, 28, of Columbia, was sentenced to more than 17 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon and possession with the intent to distribute fluorofentanyl, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, and tramadol.

Evidence presented to the court showed that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) began investigating Stewart for drug- and gun-related activity in the beginning of 2021. During their investigation, they documented social media posts of Stewart posting guns and advertising drugs.

After months of surveillance, on May 5, 2021, RCSD obtained and executed a search warrant at Stewart’s home. They seized counterfeit prescription pills, over 900 grams of marijuana, and a pistol. One group of counterfeit pills contained fluorofentanyl, fentanyl, meth, and tramadol, and another contained methamphetamine and cocaine. The counterfeit pills were similar to the pills posted by Stewart on social media.

On June 20, 2021, a City of Columbia Police Department officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a car driven by Stewart. Stewart ran from the car and fled between nearby houses. While Stewart ran, he was holding his waistband. The officer pursued Stewart, who gave himself up once he ran past the houses. Officers retraced the path that Stewart ran and found that he had discarded a gun between the houses.

Before these incidents, Stewart was a known gang member with convictions for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, as well as multiple convictions for burglary.  All of those convictions prohibited him from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.

Senior United States District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie sentenced Stewart to 212 months in prison, to be followed by a six-year term of court-ordered supervision.  There is no parole in the federal system.

This 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.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, and the City of Columbia Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lamar J. Fyall is prosecuting the case.



Brook Andrews, First Assistant United States Attorney,, (803) 929-3000

Updated August 17, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses