Columbia man heading to prison for decades on gun and drug convictions

·2 min read

A Columbia man is going to prison for decades following convictions on drug and gun charges in federal court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.

Kenyada Jaqu, 45, was recently sentenced to more than 32 years in federal prison, acting U.S. Attorney Rhett DeHart said in a news release. In October 2020, a jury found Jaqu guilty of drug- and firearm-related crimes following a three-day trial, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Jaqu was convicted on charges of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin and methamphetamine, conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute heroin and methamphetamine, being a felon in possession of firearms, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, according to the release.

On March 11, 2019, Jaqu was a passenger in a car stopped by a Richland County sheriff’s deputy who found several suspected controlled substances during a search of the vehicle, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Later that day, law enforcement officers searched a hotel room and a residence associated with Jaqu, where they found two firearms, additional suspected controlled substances, and drug paraphernalia, according to the release.

Jaqu’s drug trafficking activities stretched back at least as far as March 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Federal law prohibits Jaqu from possessing firearms due to prior state felony convictions for attempted strong armed robbery, distribution of heroin, and possession of heroin, according to the release.

U.S. District Judge Michelle Childs sentenced Jaqu to 388 months in federal prison, to be followed by an eight-year term of court-ordered supervision, according to the release. There is no parole in the federal system.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); and Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

Jaqu’s trial was the first criminal trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

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