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Press Release

Blythewood Man Sentenced to 25 years, Barnwell Man to More than 3 years, in Federal Prison for Human Trafficking and Drug Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA — Brian Leroy Watson, a/k/a “Lil B,” a/k/a “B,” 51, of Blythewood, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to Attempted Sex Trafficking of a Minor and Distribution of Heroin.  Ryan Darian Grover, 29, of Barnwell, was sentenced to more than 3 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to Human Trafficking Conspiracy.

Evidence presented to the court showed that between 2016 and 2020, Watson trafficked at least 9 victims – 8 adults and 1 minor – into the commercial sex trade.  Watson also distributed heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, and crack cocaine.  He operated out of Blythewood, South Carolina.

Watson targeted victims with particular vulnerabilities, including heroin and methamphetamine addictions and physical and mental impairments.  One victim was homeless, and other victims were teenagers while Watson was in his 40s.

Watson obtained commercial sex from his victims through sexual violence, including non-consensual sex.  He used physical violence, including slapping, hitting, and punching victims.  Victims also saw Watson pistol whip customers.  Watson used physical restraint, including by prohibiting victims from leaving his home until they worked for him in commercial sex.  He used threats, including by telling one victim he would shoot up her house.  Numerous victims saw Watson armed with a firearm.  He used fraud, including by manufacturing false debts.  And he used drug-based coercion, including by manipulating victims’ heroin and methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms.  Watson then confiscated between 50% and 100% of the commercial sex proceeds. 

On one jail call recited in court, Watson said, “They do what I tell them, that’s why I like drug addicts, I love them, I love them, I love them.”  Watson has more than 50 prior convictions.

Grover lived with Watson for a portion of time between 2016 and 2020 and assisted Watson by driving victims to commercial sex acts, by negotiating with customers, and by distributing drugs.

At sentencing, the parents of three victims addressed the Court, and written statements from additional victims were presented. 

“Human trafficking is a grave violation of survivors’ dignity and freedom,” said U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs.  “Our office will continue to make our state a more dangerous place for traffickers to operate and a safer place for survivors.  We thank the law enforcement agencies and service providers who partner with us, and we recognize the great courage of the survivors in this case who came forward.”

“Watson’s heinous actions have caused long-lasting trauma to his victims,” Steve Jensen, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Columbia Field Office said. “No sentence will erase the damage that he has caused, but it is our hope that victims find solace in knowing he can no longer cause them harm. The FBI, along with our partners at the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, stand firm in our determination to protect vulnerable citizens from dangerous predators.”

“Criminals like Watson should know that if they choose to harm our children, they will not escape justice,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said. “We are pleased with this sentence and will continue to prosecute those who abuse our young people.”

“I am thankful for the successful partnerships we have in combating sex trafficking crime,” said Kershaw County Sheriff Lee Boan. “Our communities are safer with these types of criminals behind bars.”

Senior United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. sentenced Watson to 25 years in federal prison, to be followed by a lifetime term of court-ordered supervision, plus $45,000 in restitution to be paid to 9 victims.  Grover was sentenced to 41 months in prison, to be followed by lifetime supervision by the court. There is no parole in the federal system.  Watson and Grover also must register as sex offenders upon release from prison.  

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information, please visit

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, and the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Elliott B. Daniels is prosecuting the case.



Brook Andrews, First Assistant United States Attorney,, (803) 929-3000

Updated August 21, 2023

Project Safe Childhood