For Immediate Release
Chester Methamphetamine Dealer With History of Crime Sentenced to 12 Years in Federal Prison on Firearm and Narcotics Charges
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that John Bennett Roof, Jr., a/k/a “Brent Roof,” a/k/a “Ice Man”, age 34, of Chester, was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. Following the term of imprisonment, Roof will remain on federal supervised release for an additional 3 years. United States District Judge J. Michelle Childs of Columbia imposed the sentence.
Evidence presented in court established that on April 17, 2018, officers with the Chester Police Department Narcotics and Gang Unit and a Task Force Officer with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted a traffic stop of a Mazda sedan on West Elliott Street in Chester. Officers noticed a strong odor of marijuana and asked Roof, the only occupant of the vehicle, to step out of the car. A search of the car produced a 9mm handgun loaded with seven rounds of ammunition in the magazine and one in the chamber; 4.86 grams of methamphetamine; what appeared to be cocaine, hydrocodone, three ecstasy pills, and a jar of marijuana; and $560 in U.S. currency. Roof admitted the firearm and narcotics were his, that he is a methamphetamine dealer, that the pistol was stolen, and that he traded methamphetamine for the firearm.
Federal law prohibits Roof from possessing firearms and ammunition based upon multiple prior state convictions, including a 2008 conviction for distributions of marijuana, a 2012 conviction for distribution of a controlled substance, and a 2006 conviction for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature related to an incident where Roof threw an infant on the ground, cracking the infant’s scull. In addition, Roof has at least five prior drug possession convictions from 2002 through 2018, and a 2016 conviction for criminal domestic violence. Roof has 16 outstanding charges in the state system. Evidence presented in court also indicated Roof is a validated member of a criminal street gang.
The case was investigated by the ATF and the Chester Police Department and was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases. Project CeaseFire is South Carolina’s implementation of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), 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 Elliott B. Daniels of the Columbia office prosecuted the case.