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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 4, 2021

Nine Defendants Charged with Drug Trafficking and Firearms Crimes after Joint Federal, State, and Local Operation

Florence, South Carolina --- Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett Dehart announced today that a joint team of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers arrested eight individuals who have all been charged, along with one other defendant, in federal court for their involvement in drug trafficking and firearms offenses in Florence.

The recent charges follow early-morning arrests on October 19 that were the result of a joint operation which represents a line of federal, state, and local authorities working in tandem to bring consequences to those who harm their communities. The multi-year operation has specifically targeted members and associates of several sets of a violent street gang in the region.

“This office has been clear: those who sow violence in South Carolina communities will be prosecuted,” said Acting U.S. Attorney DeHart. “I want to especially thank the federal, state, and local agents who stepped into harm’s way to execute this operation. These types of cases target entire criminal organizations and help us keep communities safer.”

“The alleged actions detailed in these indictments are troubling and remind us how the combination of illegal narcotics and gun violence can cast a dark shadow over our communities,” said Susan Ferensic, Special Agent in Charge of the Columbia Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Field Office. “The FBI along with our local, state, and federal partners will continue to use aggressive approaches to identify, disrupt, and dismantle our most violent offenders and their criminal enterprises.”

Law enforcement is never better than when we work in cooperation with other partners,” said Florence County Sheriff T.J. Joye.  “This operation is a prime example of how we can improve our communities when we work together.”

“This is just the beginning of our endeavor to reduce the illegal drug trade and violent crime by actively identifying criminal gangs and their membership for prosecution,” said City of Florence Chief of Police Allen Heidler. ”We pledge to continue in this diligent collaboration with our law enforcement colleagues to bring more illegal drug trade and violent crime offenders to justice, making our communities safe.”

The eight arrested defendants have been charged in several indictments with firearms offenses and trafficking various drugs, including crack, cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and marijuana.

Demetrius Cornelius Thomas, 34, of Florence, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and distribution of crack, and possession with intent to distribute crack, cocaine and heroin;

Delonta Nathaniel Brown, 35, of Florence, is charged with conspiracy to distribute crack, possession with intent to distribute crack, cocaine and heroin, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and felon in possession of a firearm;

Shakeam Marquise Backus, a/k/a “B.G.”, 26, of Florence, is charged with conspiracy to distribute crack, possession with intent to distribute crack, cocaine and heroin, and felon in possession of a firearm;

Marquaris Quachan Da-Whan White, a/k/a “KAP Savage,” 25, of Florence, is charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and felon in possession of a firearm;

Ty Quez Chamon Cooper, 26, of Florence, is charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and felon in possession of a firearm;

Jyqwon Antonio Woods, a/k/a “Cheese,” 33, of Florence, is charged with conspiracy to distribute crack and cocaine, possession with intent to distribute crack and cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and felon in possession of a firearm;

Tyraze Tyrone-Lamonte Eaddy, 22, of Florence, is charged with robbery affecting interstate commerce, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, fentanyl, and marijuana, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and

Joey Qurrieven York, JR., 22, of Florence, is charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and felon in possession of a firearm.

Defendants Thomas, Brown, White, Cooper, Woods, and Eaddy face a maximum penalty of life in federal prison, and Defendant Backus faces up to 40 years in federal prison.

In addition to the defendants arrested, an additional defendant has been charged in an indictment with drug trafficking offenses. 

Levester Tyyon Woods, a/k/a “Main,” 36, of Florence, is charged with conspiracy to distribute crack and cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute crack, cocaine, and marijuana.

Defendant Woods faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

According to the complaints filed against these defendants, the case involves members of a street gang who distributed drugs in the Florence area.  The complaints filed against these defendants also allege that the gang members often used firearms and violence to conduct their illegal activity and further their criminal enterprise.

During the course of the investigation into the drug trafficking and firearms offenses of these defendants, agents have seized crack, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, marijuana, and firearms.

The case was investigated by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Florence County Sheriff’s Office, Florence Police Department, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), and the Twelfth Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Assistant United States Attorney A. Bradley Parham is prosecuting the case.

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

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Derek Shoemake (843) 813-0982
Updated November 4, 2021