Fifteen Charged in Drug Trafficking Ring that Operated from Inside South Carolina Prisons
Contact Person: Nancy Wicker (803) 929-3000
Columbia, South Carolina-------Acting United States Attorney Beth Drake, announced today that fifteen individuals, including South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) inmates, have been charged federally for their roles in a wide-ranging drug trafficking conspiracy operating from behind prison walls. On September 14, 2016, a federal grand jury returned a twenty-one count sealed indictment alleging the defendants conspired to possess with intent to distribute and did distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine; used telephones and the U.S. Mail to facilitate a drug offense and conspired to launder drug money by conducting money transfers, cash withdrawals and purchases of and deposits onto pre-paid cash cards, all in violation of federal law. The indictment also alleges unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.
According to the indictment, five inmates capitalized on their access to cell phones to continue their criminal activities and to direct the criminal activities of nine “facilitators” outside of prison. Using contraband cellular telephones, the U.S. Mail and employing a network of suppliers, distributers and runners outside of prison, SCDC inmates brokered and managed the delivery and distribution of methamphetamine from California to the upstate of South Carolina and elsewhere in the state. The cellular telephones were often equipped with touch screens and internet access that enabled prisoners to coordinate drug transactions, confirm shipment and delivery and transfer drug proceeds.
The individuals charged are:
Nancy Phon, 40, of Fresno, California
Sok Bun a/k/a “Friday,” 27, an inmate at McCormick Correctional Institution
Paul Ray Davis a/k/a “Pop”, 39, an inmate at Ridgeland Correctional Institution
John Marlon Acosta, 24, an inmate at Perry Correctional Institution
James Robert Peterson, 28, an inmate at Lee Correctional Institution
Heather Nicole Rudicill, 29, of Cowpens, South Carolina
Beab Keo, a/k/a/ “Ma”, 52, of Boiling Springs, South Carolina
Terri Dianne Newman, 40, of Greer, South Carolina
Sokha Kao Aun, 47, of Wellford, South Carolina
Robert Earl Floyd, 55, of Piedmont, South Carolina
David Elijah Allen, 30, an inmate at Walden Correctional Institution
Jessica Lynn Gordon, 21, an inmate of Graham Correctional Institution
Samuel Travis Wiggins, a/k/a “Flash”, 37, an inmate at Broad River Correctional Institution
Melanie Renee Wiggins, 29, of West Columbia, South Carolina
Jonathan Brent Martin, 51, of Chesnee, South Carolina
The indictment follows multi-year Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. The OCDETF Program is a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Its principal mission is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug-trafficking organizations primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply. The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance and cooperation of the United States Postal Service, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, South Carolina Department of Corrections, Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, Spartanburg City Police Department, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Gaffney Police Department, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Marshals Service.
The Acting United States Attorney stated that all charges in this indictment are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.