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Press Release

Florence Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Gun and Drugs Violations

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

FLORENCE, S.C. — Rayshawn Mortress Tutt Smoot, 34, of Florence, was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine and crack cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

Evidence presented to the court showed that on Aug. 11, 2022, investigators with the Florence Police Department, deputies with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, and agents with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division went to arrest Smoot in Florence for active arrest warrants.  Upon arriving at the residence, officers observed a car parked on a vacant lot and Smoot in the driver’s seat.  Officers also saw a pistol with a drum magazine on the front passenger seat.  During a search of the car, officers found approximately 33 grams of crack cocaine, approximately five grams of cocaine, a digital scale, and a box of sandwich baggies along with the pistol.  The pistol had a drum magazine which was loaded with 26 rounds of ammunition. 

United States District Judge Joseph Dawson, III sentenced Smoot to a total of 106 months imprisonment, to be followed by a five-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 FBI Columbia Field Office, Florence Police Department, Florence County Sheriff’s Office, and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Hummel is prosecuting the case.



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

Updated February 23, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses