Skip to main content
Press Release

Columbia Man Pleads to Felon in Possession of Firearm and Ammunition Charge

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

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated that Steven Don Martin, age 23, of Columbia, plead guilty in federal court to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). United States District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis, of Columbia, accepted the guilty plea and will impose sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report, which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office. Yesterday, Martin’s co-defendant, Melvin Cain Silas, Jr., plead guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition stemming from the same incident.

Evidence presented in court during the guilty plea hearing established that at approximately 10:28am on November 10, 2016, a deputy with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department on patrol on Farrow Road encountered a Jeep bearing Colorado license plates and learned that it had previously been reported stolen from Georgia. Once the deputy activated his blue lights and siren, the Jeep failed to stop and ultimately crashed. The four occupants attempted to flee on foot, but deputies were able to apprehend Martin, a passenger, and the driver, Silas. The other two passengers were able to get away. A search of the Jeep revealed that Martin had been in possession of a stolen loaded Glock .40 caliber handgun and a 30 round magazine. A third handgun was also found in the Jeep. Martin admitted, after waiving his rights, that he traded marijuana for the Glock handgun. A search incident to Silas’ arrest revealed a loaded Taurus .380 handgun in his front pants pocket. After waiving his rights, Silas admitted to stealing the Jeep from the side of the road in Blythewood and using a screwdriver to start it, and to buying the Taurus handgun off the street.

Martin is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition based upon his prior state convictions for burglary 2nd (two separate counts). Like Silas, Martin was on state supervision when this incident occurred.  

Martin and Silas each face a maximum of ten years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release on the felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition charge.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department 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.



Stacey D. Haynes (803) 929-3000

Updated June 8, 2017

Firearms Offenses