Anderson Man and Phoenix Woman Sentenced to 235 Months and 48 Months Respectively for Drug Trafficking
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA — A joint team of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers arrested 12 individuals today who have all been charged in federal court for their roles in a drug trafficking organization that operated in and around North Charleston.
These defendants have been charged by indictment with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana. Additionally, some of the defendants have been charged with various firearms offenses. The following defendants have been arrested:
CLAYTON THOMAS, a/k/a “CJ,” 22, of North Charleston, was charged by separate indictment with multiple counts of knowingly making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of the firearms.
Agents are still searching for a fugitive in the case who has also been charged in the conspiracy.
Several defendants also are charged with one or more counts of using a telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking. If they are convicted the defendants face various penalties, with some facing up to life in prison.
During the investigation into these drug trafficking organizations, agents have seized substantial amounts of cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and firearms, some of which were illegally modified to operate as fully automatic machine guns.
“Drug organizations, especially those using firearms, are a serious and direct threat to the communities they invade, and this office will always stand with our federal, state, and local partners to protect the South Carolinians that call these places home,” said U.S. Attorney Corey F. Ellis. “In addition to our many partners who assisted in this operation, I want to especially thank the brave men and women who put themselves in harm’s way this morning to safely and professionally execute the takedown in this case.”
“Today’s arrests demonstrate our commitment to taking drug offenders off the street,” said FBI Columbia Special Agent in Charge Susan Ferensic. “The FBI’s reach is far and wide and we, along with our law enforcement partners, are dedicated to using the necessary measures to aggressively investigate and root out those who are at the core of these problems in our South Carolina communities.”
“Today’s operation should send a very clear message to criminal organizations: intimidation, violence, and their associated crimes will not be tolerated in our community,” said Special Agent In Charge Ronnie Martinez, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in North Carolina and South Carolina. “HSI Charleston proudly collaborates with our federal, state, and local partners to protect the safety of the public and I am confident that the success achieved during this interagency partnership will only continue to grow in future efforts.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Lowcountry Violent Crime Task Force, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, North Charleston Police Department, Charleston Police Department, Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, Mount Pleasant Police Department, Summerville Police Department, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), Ninth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, and the Charleston County Aviation Authority.
This operation is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (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. Assistant United States Attorneys Allessandra Stewart, Chris Lietzow, and Everett McMillian are 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.
Derek Shoemake (843) 327-0882