Columbia: Kenyada Jaqu Sentenced for Multiple Crimes

Columbia Man, Kenyada Jaqu Sentenced to More Than 30 Years for Drug and Firearms Crimes

Sentence Comes as a Result of First Federal Criminal Jury Trial During the Pandemic

Columbia, S.C (STL.News) Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett DeHart announced today that Kenyada Jaqu, 45, of Columbia, was sentenced to more than 30 years in federal prison after a three-day trial in October 2020 where a jury found him guilty of drug- and firearm-related crimes.  Jaqu’s trial was the first criminal trial in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Evidence presented by the Government during the trial established that on March 11, 2019, Jaqu was a passenger in a car stopped by a deputy with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.  During a subsequent search of the vehicle, the deputy located several suspected controlled substances.  Later that day, law enforcement searched a hotel room and a residence associated with Jaqu, where they found two firearms, additional suspected controlled substances, and drug paraphernalia.

Additional investigation revealed that Jaqu’s drug trafficking activities stretched back at least as far as March, 2015.  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.

The jury ultimately found Jaqu guilty 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.

United States District Judge Michelle Childs, who presided over the trial, sentenced Jaqu to 388 months in federal prison, to be followed by an eight-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system.

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

Assistant United States Attorney Katherine Flynn prosecuted the case.