Anderson Man and Phoenix Woman Sentenced to 235 Months and 48 Months Respectively for Drug Trafficking
COLUMBIA, S.C.— Three men and three women from the Midlands were sentenced after pleading guilty in federal court to their roles in a heroin, fentanyl, and marijuana trafficking conspiracy based in Columbia.
Evidence presented to the Court showed that Marcus Antonio Ashford was the leader of a heroin, fentanyl, and marijuana distribution ring operating in and around Columbia, S.C. Debra Ann Thomas, Jemica Octavia Maxwell. and Shaquan Maxwell were drug distributors working on behalf of Ashford. Tremeka R. Myers and Rashad Naheem Myers were facilitators in the conspiracy. The Myers’ home was used as a location for co-conspirators to prepare heroin for sale.
Between Sept. 2019, and July 2020, law enforcement conducted a series of controlled buys of heroin and heroin/fentanyl mixture from Ashford and his co-defendants. Some of the drugs were sold directly by Ashford; others were sold by Ashford’s co-defendants working on his behalf. Based upon the controlled buys and related investigation, in approximately two years, Ashford and his organization were responsible for trafficking nearly one kilogram of heroin, 31 grams of fentanyl, and multiple kilograms of marijuana.
Law enforcement conducted six controlled buys of heroin and heroin/fentanyl mixture from Debra Ann Thomas between Sept. 2019 and March 2020. Ashford was present at several of those sales and was ultimately identified as Thomas’s source of supply.
On June 15, 2020, law enforcement contacted Ashford to set up a purchase of one ounce of heroin. At the time, Ashford was not in Columbia. Ashford contacted Tremeka and Rashad Myers and asked them to allow Shaquan Maxwell to come to their house to prepare the heroin for sale. Later that day, Shaquan Maxwell delivered approximately one ounce of heroin to the purported buyer. When Shaquan Maxwell met with the buyer to conduct the sale, Maxwell had Ashford on a video call and Ashford explained that Maxwell was delivering the heroin on his behalf.
Approximately one month later, on July 10, 2020, law enforcement arranged for another buy of one ounce of heroin from Ashford. Ashford was again out of town and turned to Jemica Octavia Maxwell to prepare the heroin for sale at the home of Tremeka and Rashad Myers.
In Sept. 2020, law enforcement conducted a traffic stop on a car belonging to Ashford and driven by Jemica Maxwell. In a subsequent search of the vehicle, law enforcement found 2.7 kilograms of marijuana.
On Oct. 27, 2020, law enforcement executed search warrants at several homes around Columbia. At the home of Tremeka and Rashad Myers, which had been used by the conspiracy members to prepare heroin for sale, law enforcement found a quantity of marijuana, equipment for preparing heroin for sale, a Taurus 9mm handgun and ammunition. In the home of Jemica and Shaquan Maxwell, which had been frequented by conspiracy members throughout the investigation, law enforcement found nearly five kilograms of marijuana. In the kitchen cabinet, law enforcement found a loaded handgun next to a distribution-sized bag of marijuana.
United States District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis sentenced all six individuals. Marcus Antonio Ashford was sentenced to 168 months in federal prison. Debra Ann Thomas was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. Tremeka R. Myers was sentenced to 60 months on federal probation. Rashad Naheem Myers was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment. Jemica Octavia Maxwell was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison. Shaquan Maxwell was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison. There is no parole in the federal system. Ashford’s term of imprisonment will be followed by an eight-year term of court-ordered supervision. Thomas’s term of imprisonment will be followed by a four-year term of court-ordered supervision. Rashad Myers’s, Jemica Maxwell’s, and Shaquan Maxwell’s terms of imprisonment will be followed by three-year terms of court-ordered supervision.
This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
This case was investigated by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Flynn prosecuted the case.
Veronica Hill, Public Affairs Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-929-3000