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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 30, 2020

Columbia Man Sentenced to Over 10 Years in Federal Prison for Firearm and Drug Charges

Columbia, South Carolina --- United States Attorney Peter M. McCoy, Jr., announced today that Trent Jerrod Daniels, 33, of Columbia, was sentenced to over 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. 

Evidence presented to the court showed that on May 8, 2018, deputies with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department were conducting surveillance on Abbott Road after receiving information about drug dealing in the area. Deputies observed what they believed to be drug deals between an individual in a vehicle and others in the roadway. Thereafter, deputies attempted a traffic stop on the driver of the vehicle, who was later identified as Daniels. A high-speed chase ensued, and officers saw Daniels throwing a bag out of the car window. Ultimately, the vehicle was stopped on Shop Road and South Beltline Boulevard. Deputies recovered the bag and found inside a loaded Hi-Point .380 caliber handgun, marijuana, and digital scales. A small quantity of crack cocaine was found in the vehicle, and counterfeit money was found in Daniels’ pocket. Daniels admitted to distributing marijuana and crack cocaine earlier on Abbott Road and to throwing the bag containing the marijuana and loaded gun out of the car during the chase. Daniels also admitted to purchasing the firearm off the street as he knew he was prohibited from possessing one.

Daniels, who was on state parole at the time of the instant offense, is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition based upon prior state convictions for burglary 2nd degree (two separate counts), use of a motor vehicle without the owner’s permission, grand larceny (two separate counts), strong arm robbery, and distribution of crack cocaine.

United States District Judge J. Michelle Childs sentenced Daniels to 130 months in federal prison, to be followed by a four-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system.

A ballistics analysis through National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) revealed that the Hi-Point .380 caliber handgun was linked to shell casings recovered at an unsolved December 2017 burglary in Richland County. NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms. NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles. For more information on NIBIN, visit https://www.atf.gov/firearms/national-integrated-ballistic-information-network-nibin .

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), 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. Assistant United States Attorney Stacey D. Haynes of the Columbia office handled the prosecution.

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The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Derek A. Shoemake (843) 813-0982
Updated November 30, 2020