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ILLUSTRATION: Scales of Justice

A convicted felon has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for carrying a weapon while he was fishing in Calhoun County.

Tyrone Mayes, 28, of Columbia, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, according to U.S. Attorney Sherri A. Lydon.

Evidence presented to the court showed that Mayes possessed a loaded 9 mm handgun, along with ammunition, while fishing on the Santee River in Calhoun County.

On Oct. 15, 2017, an officer with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources approached the boat where Mayes was fishing to conduct a safety inspection.

While conducting the inspection, the officer asked to see the contents of a drawstring bag that Mayes was holding to check for fish. Mayes did not allow the officer to inspect the bag, but instead jumped into the water with the bag in hand and dropped the bag in the river.

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Later, DNR assembled a dive team, along with other officers, to search for the bag in the river. The dive team recovered the bag after approximately 2-1/2 hours, finding a loaded 9mm handgun, along with ammunition, digital scales and a cell phone.

The gun had been previously reported as stolen from a vehicle.

Mayes, a felon, admitted to possessing the gun and ammunition.

Federal law prohibits Mayes from possessing firearms and ammunition because of his felony status. His prior state felony convictions include: 2nd degree burglary, grand larceny and 2 counts of attempted murder.

U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs sentenced Mayes to 48 months in federal prison, to be followed by a two-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system.

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