Columbia Man Sentenced for Possessing a Firearm and Selling Cocaine
Columbia, South Carolina---- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon stated today that Caster Delaney Whetstone was sentenced in federal court in Columbia, South Carolina, for being a felon in possession of a firearm, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and 924(e) and possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, in violation 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. of Columbia sentenced Whetstone to 180 months (15 years) incarceration followed by 5 years of supervised release and $100 special assessment.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that on June 10, 2014, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Columbia Police Department (CPD) used an informant to purchase a half an ounce of cocaine from Whetstone. The informant met Whetstone at a local store in Five Points. Whetstone gave the informant the cocaine and the informant paid Whetstone $600 cash.
On June 24, 2014, ATF and CPD used another informant to attempt to make a purchase of a half-ounce of cocaine and a firearm from Whetstone. They met and Whetstone sold the informant a .32 caliber Harrington and Richardson model 632 revolver with 6 rounds of ammunition and what he represented was 14 grams of cocaine. The cocaine was later determined to be fake.
Whetstone is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms based upon his prior separate state convictions for armed robbery (2 counts), kidnapping, discharging a firearm into a dwelling, and assault with intent to kill.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the City of Columbia Police 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 William K. Witherspoon of the Columbia office handled the case.
Project CeaseFire is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.