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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Former South Carolina State Trooper Convicted Of Conspiracy To Distribute A Controlled Substance

SAN FRANCISCO- A federal jury convicted John David McGaha today of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Federal Bureau of Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Bertram Fairries.

McGaha, 36, of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, was charged, along with six co-conspirators, with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance as part of a superseding indictment filed March 24, 2015.  McGaha was a state trooper with the South Carolina Highway Patrol at the time of the charged conduct.  McGaha was accused of agreeing to accept $5,000 in exchange for providing security during a planned drug transaction. 

The superseding indictment described a criminal conspiracy that worked for years laundering what the defendants believed to be the proceeds of cocaine trafficking.  According to the indictment, some of the defendants eventually decided to become drug traffickers themselves.  The evidence at trial showed that other members of the conspiracy asked McGaha to protect a drug transaction that would take place the following day.  McGaha stated that the less he knew about the transaction the better, but he agreed to be present at the transaction in his marked Highway Patrol car.  Later, McGaha was questioned by investigating agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and he admitted he met with the co-conspirators, that he was asked to be present in a parking lot while the business was conducted, that he knew the transaction was illegal, and that he accepted $5,000 to be present in the parking lot. 

The jury found that McGaha conspired to distribute a controlled substance or to possess a controlled substance with the intent to distribute it, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846.   Each of his co-conspirators pleaded guilty to charges related to the conspiracy.

The guilty verdict followed a four-day jury trial before the Honorable William Alsup, U.S. District Court Judge. McGaha remains free pending his sentencing scheduled for August 23, 2016, before Judge Alsup, in San Francisco.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lloyd Farnham and Andrew Dawson are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Michelle Alter.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Updated May 5, 2016