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Press Release

Columbia Man Sentenced to More than 9 Years in Federal Prison for Possession of a Firearm

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

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA —Ernest Weldon, 37, of Columbia, was sentenced to 110 months in federal prison for possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony.

Evidence presented to the Court showed that on June 21, 2021, an officer with the City of Columbia Police Department (CPD) attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a car driven by Ernest Weldon. Instead of stopping for the officer, Weldon opened the door to the car and ran without putting the car in park, causing it to roll until it stopped in nearby grass. During his flight, Weldon dropped a firearm, which law enforcement recovered. CPD officers detained Weldon after a brief chase and took him into custody. Before this incident, Weldon had convictions for attempted armed robbery, possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, and multiple convictions for assault and criminal domestic violence.

United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. sentenced Weldon to 110 months in prison, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision.  There is no parole in the federal system.

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.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) 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, U.S. Attorney’s Office,, (803) 929-3000

Updated March 23, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses