Columbia Gang Member, Dashawn Terrell Swyger Sentenced to More than 12 Years for Selling Firearms
COLUMBIA, S.C (STL.News) United States Attorney Corey F. Ellis announced today that Dashawn Terrell Swygert, 27, of Columbia, was sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.
Evidence presented to the court showed that in early 2020, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) conducted an investigation into firearms within the Columbia area. During this investigation, undercover ATF agents were introduced to Swygert, a validated gang member.
During four transactions in February 2020, he sold six handguns, many of which were loaded and one of which had an extended magazine, to undercover ATF agents. During the investigation, Swygert bragged to others that he was selling guns to individuals who were running them up north. Upon his arrest in March 2020, agents recovered another loaded firearm.
Of the seven handguns recovered from Swygert by ATF, four had previously been reported as stolen. Three were previously stolen from vehicles in Richland and Newberry Counties. One of the handguns, sold by Swygert to undercover agents in February 2020, was also preliminarily linked through ballistics analysis as having been involved in three shooting incidents: a shooting incident on December 12, 2019, in West Columbia and shooting incidents in Columbia on December 14, 2019, and January 16, 2020. It should be noted that there was no evidence linking Swygert himself to the actual shootings.
Swygert has prior state convictions for strong arm robbery from a 2011 incident and criminal conspiracy, strong arm robbery (4 counts), assault and battery 2nd degree (4 counts), from a 2013 incident.
United States District Mary Geiger Lewis sentenced Swygert to 151 months in federal prison, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system. In imposing the sentence, Judge Lewis noted, “This is the kind of activity that makes a community dangerous . . . gangs and guns.”
This investigation by ATF was made possible by leads generated from the ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms. NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles.
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 United States Attorney Stacey D. Haynes prosecuted the case.