News and Press Releases

Members of Large Local Drug Conspiracy Sentenced for Their
Roles in Distributing Cocaine and Crack Cocaine
in Lexington County

November 9, 2012

Contact Person: William Witherspoon (803) 929-3000

Columbia, South Carolina---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Eric Frederick Williams, age 28, of Batesburg, South Carolina, was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Columbia, South Carolina, for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and 280 grams or more of cocaine base (crack cocaine), a violation of Title 21 United States Code, Section 846.    United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson of Columbia sentenced Williams to 188 months (15.6 years) incarceration followed by 10 years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment.  Judge Anderson has sentenced other members of this conspiracy.  They include Antonio Dupree Williams, of Batesburg and the leader of the organization,  who was sentenced to 292 months (24.5 years)  on the drug conspiracy, 180 months (15 years) for being a felon in possession of a firearm and 240 months (20 years) on money laundering charges followed by 10 years of supervised release; Charles Gantt, of Batesburg, who was sentenced to 235 months (19.6 years) incarceration followed by 10 years of supervised release; James Lewis Williams, of Batesburg, who was sentenced to life imprisonment; Lindsay Tyrone Leaphart, of Leesville, who was sentenced to 120 months (10 years) incarceration followed by 5 years of supervised release; Walter Leon Williams, of Batesburg, who was sentenced to 135 months (11.25 years) incarceration followed by 6 years of supervised release; and Joseph Junior Nelson, of Gilbert, who was sentenced to 121 months (10 years and 1 month) incarceration followed by 10 years of supervised release.  Three remaining co-defendants have yet to be sentenced.  They are Anthony Walker Alphonso Thompson, William Jacoby Holloway and Darrell T. Washington.  All defendants pled guilty to the conspiracy charge except Washington who was convicted at trial this summer.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearings established that Antonio Dupree Williams ran a large scale cocaine and crack cocaine conspiracy in the Batesburg-Leesville area of Lexington County.  Antonio Williams would receive cocaine from Hispanic distributors who would deliver the cocaine to the homes of some of the co-conspirators.   Antonio Williams typically purchased 1-5 kilograms of cocaine at a time.   Some of the cocaine was then converted into crack cocaine.  The cocaine and crack cocaine was stored at some of the homes of his co-conspirators until customers placed orders.    Antonio Williams would then have other co-conspirators make the deliveries of the cocaine and/or crack cocaine to his customers.  ATF used an informant to make multiple purchases of cocaine from Antonio Williams during this investigation.   Following these purchases, the FBI obtained wiretaps of multiple telephones of the co-conspirators, including Antonio Williams.  These wiretaps and historical information received from other defendants provided the connection between the defendants in this case.  
The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Internal Revenue Service, State Law Enforcement Division, Batesburg Police Department and the Newberry Police Department.   Assistant United States Attorneys William K. Witherspoon, Mark C. Moore and J.D. Rowell of the Columbia office handled the case.

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