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3 Florence men sentenced to federal prison for firearms, drug charges

Myrtle Beach-Florence WMBF-TV logo Myrtle Beach-Florence WMBF-TV 7/29/2022 WMBF News Staff
FILE PHOTO - Prison bars. © Provided by Myrtle Beach-Florence WMBF-TV FILE PHOTO - Prison bars.

FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - Three Florence County men were sentenced to multiple years in federal prison this week based on their convictions for federal firearms violations.

Shakeam Marquise Backus, 27, Joey Qurrieven York, 23, and Jyqwon Antonio Woods, 34, were jointly investigated by the Florence Police Department (FPD) and the Florence County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as part of an ongoing state/federal partnership to address violent crime in the Pee Dee.

According to the report, these defendants were specifically selected for federal prosecution due to their connections with a local street gang.

Backus was sentenced to 147 months in prison followed by a four-year term of supervised release after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and conspiring to distribute 28 grams or more of crack cocaine.

Evidence presented at the sentencing hearing showed that during a traffic stop on March 28, 2017, he was caught with a stolen Glock, model 26, pistol loaded with 17 rounds of 9mm ammunition in an extended magazine. He also had various drugs in his vehicle and attempted to flee on foot before being apprehended by officers from the Florence Police Department.

He was also found in possession of several firearms and other drugs during a July 10, 2020, search warrant executed by Florence County Sheriff’s Office deputies. Backus was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition due to his prior felony convictions, which include burglary (2010), grand larceny (2010), strong arm robbery (2012), assault and battery, 1st Degree (2015), and distribution of crack cocaine (2016).

York was sentenced to 84 months in prison followed by a five-year term of supervised release after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Evidence presented at the hearing showed that on December 10, 2020, he was the subject of a traffic stop where he was found to be in possession of a stolen vehicle, a loaded Smith and Wesson .38 revolver, marijuana, a digital scale, and a black ski mask.

He was apprehended by officers from the Florence Police Department after a short foot chase. York was also prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition due to his prior felony convictions for possession of a stolen vehicle and failure to stop for blue lights (2017), and he had several prior misdemeanor convictions for drug possession and driving offenses.

Woods was sentenced to 60 months in prison followed by a five-year term of supervised release after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Evidence at the hearing showed that Woods drew the attention of Florence Police Department officers on March 19, 2019, when he was seen putting a pill bottle in his pocket and then attempting to flee on foot.

He was apprehended and found to be in possession of a SCCY 9mm pistol loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition, oxycodone pills, crack and powder cocaine, cash, and a digital scale. Woods was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition due to his prior felony convictions for possession of a stolen vehicle (2004) and conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine (2008), with the latter charge resulting in him being sent to federal prison for several years. He also has prior misdemeanor convictions for drug possession, DUI, and resisting arrest.

United States District Judge Sherri A. Lydon sentenced the defendants, all of whom have been in custody since the time of their arrests. There is no parole in the federal system, and they will not be released until the service of their prison sentences is complete.

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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Everett McMillian, Lead Attorney for the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force, prosecuted the cases in close coordination with the Florence Police Department, the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, and the 12th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

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