West Columbia man pleads guilty to weapons, drug charges

Posted 3/30/23

A West Columbia man identified as a gang member recently pleaded guilty to drug and weapons charges.

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West Columbia man pleads guilty to weapons, drug charges


A West Columbia man identified as a gang member recently pleaded guilty to drug and weapons charges.

Darius Antonio Pugh, 36, was convicted of “two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition and one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, a quantity of cocaine base (commonly known as crack cocaine), and a quantity of cocaine,” according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina.

The release states that, per evidence presented in court, Pugh was out on state bond from Lexington County for a shooting when he was stopped by a Charleston County deputy in August 2020 and found to be in possession of marijuana, cocaine and a loaded handgun after a probable cause search.

Later, while out on state bond, Pugh “was involved in a high speed chase with Richland County deputies,” the release continues.

“Evidence presented to the court showed that on the evening of April 9, 2022, Richland County deputies responded to a home invasion in progress in northeast Columbia. Enroute, deputies received information that the suspect fled in an older model Expedition. While responding to the call, a deputy encountered an older model Expedition fitting the general description in the area. The deputy attempted to make a traffic stop of the Expedition for having improper vehicle tags.”

The release states that Pugh fled when the deputy turned on blue lights and siren, hitting speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour along Interstate 77.

“The chase continued onto 277 South and came to a stop within the Colony apartment complex, after the Expedition struck a parked car as it attempted to make a turn at a high rate of speed. Pugh, the driver and sole occupant of the Expedition, exited the SUV and was stopped by the deputy after a short foot chase. Inside a bag that Pugh had, deputies found a loaded handgun with an extended magazine and clear bags of methamphetamine, cocaine, and crack cocaine. A search of Pugh’s Expedition revealed another loaded handgun, along with a jar of marijuana and a digital scale. Both handguns were determined to have been previously stolen in Charlotte.”

Pugh was determined not to have been the suspect involved in the home invasion, nor was his Expedition the one seen leaving the scene.

The release notes that Pugh was prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition due to previous state convictions including “possession of cocaine, possession of other controlled substance, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (two separate convictions), possession of stolen motor vehicle, distribution of heroin, distribution of fentanyl, failure to stop for blue light and siren, and discharging firearms into a dwelling.”

He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years federal prison time along with a fine of $250,000 for the firearm charges as well as a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison (with a maximum of life) and a fine of $8 million on the drug charge. If he were to get out of prison, he would be on supervised release for at least eight years.

The case, the release notes, is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey Haynes as part of the Department of Justice’s joint federal, state and local Project Safe Neighborhoods Program. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, and the Mt. Pleasant Police Department.

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