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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 3, 2017

42-Count Federal Indictment Unsealed

Contact Person: Lance Crick (864) 282-2105

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that a 42-count federal indictment was unsealed against nine defendants, all from the Columbia area.  The nine individuals indicted include:  Christopher Donnell Brown, age 38 , Delvaron Mufeed Jonel Thomas, age 34, Brian Lamark Gunter, age 26, Frederick Raheem Gunter, age 24, Meldrick Leon Owens, age 27, Ernest Gerod Sims, age 43, Reginald Yvon Jones, age 52, Stacey Andre George, age 32, and Warren Spruill, Jr., age 32.  All the defendants are in custody except Brian Gunter and Frederick Raheem Gunter, who are fugitives and are being sought by law enforcement.

The indictment charged all the defendants with being in a conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and 280 grams or more of cocaine base, a violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846.  The maximum penalty for this charge is life imprisonment and a maximum fine of $20,000,000.00. All the defendants are also charged with multiple counts of use of a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime, a violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843(b).  The maximum penalty for this offense is 8 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000.00.

Brown is also charged with eleven counts of distribution of crack cocaine on different days, a violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1).  The maximum penalty for these charges is life imprisonment and a maximum fine of $20,000,000.00.

Sims is also charged in additional counts for distribution of crack cocaine, a violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); being a felon in possession of a firearm, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1); and, possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c).  The maximum penalty for these charges is life imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000,000.00.

The United States Attorney stated all charges in the Indictment are merely accusations and that all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Richland County Sheriff's Office and City of Columbia Police Department and is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney William K. Witherspoon of the Columbia office for prosecution.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Updated May 3, 2017