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Press Release

Columbia Man Involved in Gun and Drug Trafficking Sentenced to Federal Prison

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

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Justin Washington, 24, of Columbia, was sentenced to more than three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to Possession of Stolen Firearms and Possession of a Firearm in Relation to a Drug Trafficking Offense.

Evidence presented to the court showed that on Oct. 22, 2022, deputies of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant at Washington’s residence based on his involvement in multiple car break-ins throughout Richland County. During the search warrant, deputies recovered four firearms, 9mm and 300 blackout ammunition, multiple gun magazines, over $4,300 dollars in cash, more than 220 grams of marijuana, a window punch, and several tools related to breaking into motor vehicles.

After receiving his Miranda rights, Washington admitted to his possession of the items recovered by law enforcement and stated to law enforcement that he stole the firearms in his possession. He also told law enforcement that he would often sell the firearms he stole from motor vehicles.

During this incident, Washington was on parole for Breaking into a Motor Vehicle, a felony which prohibited him from possessing firearms and ammunition.

United States District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie sentenced Washington to 90 months imprisonment, to be followed by a three-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 Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the City of Columbia Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lamar J. Fyall, Elle Klein, and Elizabeth Major are prosecuting the case.



Veronica Hill, Public Affairs Specialist,, (803) 929-3000

Updated January 19, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses