Suspected Columbia Gang Member Sentenced on Gun Charge
James Anthony Ashford, known as Pop-A-Lot, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release.
A federal judge sentenced a 27-year-old Columbia man to 10 years in prison in relation to a 2011 shooting at Colony Apartments off Beltline Boulevard.
James Anthony Ashord, known as Pop-A-Lot, pled guilty to possessing a firearm and ammunition as a felon, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. He also received three years of supervised release.
Ashford, who has prior drug and weapons convictions, is prohibited from carrying a gun. He is a member of the Folk Nation gang in Columbia, according to a press release from the attorney's office.
Columbia police arrested Ashford in April 2011 after they found him carrying a .38-caliber gun. Officers were investigating a shooting at Colony Apartments when they found him.
When police were dispatched to the scene of the shooting on April 20, 2011, they found a 24-year-old man who was shot in the buttocks and groin, according to the attorney's office. A woman accused Ashford of the shooting and told Columbia police he also fired at her twice.
At his sentencing hearing, Ashford said he carried a gun for safety.
“I tote a gun every day because the neighborhood...is dangerous because of gang members,” Ashford said.
Ashford has separate prior state convictions for trafficking crack cocaine and for possession of crack cocaine, according to the attorney's office. He aslo has state convictions for unlawful weapon, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana, receiving stolen goods, and use of a motor vehicle without the owner’s permission.