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Justice News

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

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Jury Convicts Spartanburg Brothers in Federal Court of Drug and Money Laundering Charges

Columbia, South Carolina------United States Attorney, Beth Drake, announced today Soeuth Ath, 45 and Sean Ath 53, of Spartanburg, South Carolina, were convicted of conspiracy to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine and marijuana and conspiracy to launder drug proceeds, violations of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1), 846 and Title 18, United States Code Section 1956(h), in federal court in Anderson, South Carolina, following a week-long trial. The indictment also alleges the brothers used the United States Mail to facilitate a felony drug trafficking crime, a violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 843(b) and felon in possession of a firearm, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(1). Soeuth Ath and Sean Ath each face a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years and maximum sentence of life in prison. Both men are await sentencing.

In September 2016, federal, state and local law enforcement executed multiple search and arrest warrants in Spartanburg County, Greenville County, and in Bakersfield, California, which led to the arrests of sixteen individuals, including six South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) inmates, for their roles in the wide-ranging drug and money laundering conspiracy that stretched from South Carolina to Los Angeles, Fresno and Bakersfield, California. In September 2017, after a week-long trial, two Department of Corrections inmates, Sok Bun, 28, and James Robert Peterson, 29, were found guilty of conspiring to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine following a week-long trial in federal court. In that case, the defendants also used the mail to facilitate felony drug offenses. The Ath brothers are the last two defendants to be convicted. All other defendants pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. 

The convictions are a result of a 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, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office and ICE - Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Marshals Service.  Assistant United States Attorney Leesa Washington and Jeanne Howard, of the Greenville office, are prosecuting the case.


Drug Trafficking
Financial Fraud
Lance Crick (864) 282-2105
Updated January 16, 2018