COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett DeHart announced that Ra’Quan Rasheen Williams, 24, of Columbia, was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison, after pleading guilty in September 2020 to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Evidence presented in court established that on March 8, 2019, Columbia Police Department officers were conducting a property check at an apartment complex on Alcott Drive in Columbia. Officers saw Williams and two other individuals near a car in the apartment complex parking lot. The officers smelled marijuana coming from the area where the car was parked and approached Willliams and the others to investigate further. During a pat down search of Williams, one officer felt a firearm in Williams’ waistband. Williams immediately began running from the scene and dropped a 9mm pistol which was recovered by officers on the scene. Williams was eventually apprehended after a short chase through the apartment complex. The 9mm pistol that Williams dropped was loaded with 17 rounds of ammunition in a large capacity magazine. Williams was also found with a quantity of heroin after his arrest.
Williams was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition based on several prior state convictions. Williams was under community supervision at the time of his arrest, after serving a five-year prison sentence for a 2014 conviction of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature during an incident in which an individual was shot. In 2015, Williams was convicted of burglary that included the theft of guns from a residence. Williams was also convicted in 2018 of carrying or concealing a weapon while he was an inmate at the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville.
Senior United States Judge Terry L. Wooten sentenced Williams to 100 months imprisonment for the felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition charge, to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Columbia Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Christopher D. Taylor of the Columbia office prosecuted the case.
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.