South Carolinian faced 115 years prison
until ATF realized it had the wrong man

By Lee Williams. June 3, 2024

Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023, began just like any other workday for Bryan Montiea Wilson, a 33-year-old resident of West Columbia, South Carolina, who had never been in trouble with the law.

At 6 a.m., Wilson began his shift at Harsco Rails on West Technology Drive, where he worked as a material processor for the railroad equipment manufacturer. A couple hours later, Wilson's supervisor found him on the facility floor and told him to report to the main office. Inside were two men and a woman, all wearing civilian clothes. They told Wilson they were ATF agents and that they had a warrant for his arrest. They never showed him a badge.

Wilson was handcuffed and searched. He did not resist and complied fully with their demands. He told the agents he was diabetic, so they allowed his supervisor to retrieve a Pop-Tart, fruit juice and blood-sugar monitor from his locker. Wilson was walked out of Harsco in handcuffs. All of his coworkers witnessed his arrest. In the parking lot, Wilson saw two more agents searching his car.

On the way to the federal courthouse, the agents allowed Wilson to call his brother, who notified his parents of his arrest. At the courthouse, Wilson was booked, fingerprinted and photographed. He was searched a second time; all of his personal property was seized, and he was locked in a holding cell by himself.

Eventually, a federal public defender was allowed in and showed Wilson a copy of an indictment, which charged him with five counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and three counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. .....


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